Before you laud Ryan Dempster as The Defender of the Non-PED Users …

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The narrative after last night’s crazy Red Sox-Yankees game is probably going to center on Ryan Dempster hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch and all of the drama which surrounded it. That narrative is also likely to include a heavy dose of people excusing Dempster for throwing at A-Rod because A-Rod is evil and Dempster was standing up for those who don’t cheat, snitch and all of that stuff.

Before you hop on that train, however, check out these tweets from hockey journalist Wane Scanlan, which were highlighted in Dave Brown’s post over at Big League Stew:

Maybe it’s easy to hate A-Rod, but it would seem that Dempster already had a beef with A-Rod and it wasn’t about anything as high-minded as professional integrity.

Whatever animated Dempster, it was still pretty stupid. Even if you hate A-Rod for all of the best reasons on the planet, putting him on in that situation and giving what has been a listless Yankees team of late some baserunners and some motivation was dumb. And, as we’ve said several times around these parts, throwing at batters is dumb as a general rule. If it was about some petty personal snub it was triply dumb.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.