Ryan Dempster posted a disappointing 4.57 ERA in 171 1/3 innings last summer for the Red Sox and did not get a postseason start, but he was still expected to open the 2014 campaign in Boston’s rotation.
That is no longer going to happen.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the veteran right-hander announced Sunday that he will not pitch this season due to “physical reasons and his desire to spend more time with his kids.”
“I don’t feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to,” Dempster told Rosenthal. “I feel it’s in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time. The time is right. I’m not saying retirement but I definitely won’t be playing this season.”
Dempster signed a two-year, $26.5 million free agent contract with the Red Sox last winter. He’ll be placed on the restricted list and won’t get the $13.25 million salary that he stood to earn in 2014. With that savings, the Red Sox front office could get more active on the open market — they’re known to have some interest in re-signing shortstop Stephen Drew.
Boston’s rotation this season will likely be Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, and Felix Doubront. Though it should be noted that Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana remain unsigned.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.