Update 3:08 pm: Ryan Dempster has officially been suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Alex Rodriguez. Dempster was also fined an undisclosed amount.
Boston Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster is "almost certain" to receive a suspension from Major League Baseball as punishment for seemingly targeting and eventually beaning Alex Rodriguez at Fenway Park on Sunday, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
The league is expected to decide on Dempster's punishment sometime Tuesday.
Facing A-Rod to begin the second inning Sunday evening, Dempster threw the first pitch of the frame behind Rodriguez's legs, then fired the next two under his hands off the plate inside. Dempster finally managed to plunk Rodriguez on the fourth pitch, causing the umpire to warn both benches, who emerged from their respective dugouts warily.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected in the ensuing calamity, infuriated that Dempster was not immediately ejected. A-Rod later retaliated by hitting a monster blast into the center-field seats.
If the league does suspend Dempster, it would have little to no effect on the Red Sox over the next week. Boston has a day off on Thursday and another one next Monday, so the club could potentially skip his next two starts without having to make any sort of change to the rotation.
Dempster, 36, has struggled over the last couple months -- posting a 6.25 earned-run average over his last eight starts -- so a suspension may actually be a blessing in disguise for the Red Sox, allowing them to skip his turn in the rotation without the awkwardness of having the "it's not us, it's you" talk.
The veteran right-hander is in his first season on a two-year, $26.5 million deal with Boston. He owns a 4.77 ERA in 25 starts on the year.