BOSTON (AFP) – Disgraced player Alex Rodriguez was drilled in the ribs by a 92 mph pitch, causing an uproar on both benches in the New York Yankees 9-6 win over Boston.
Rodriguez, who is playing despite a 211-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis of America doping scandal, was plunked by Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster in the second inning at Fenway Park on Sunday. The incident also led to the ejection of Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
“You can’t start throwing at people,” Girardi said of Dempster. “You don’t take the law into your own hands. Whether you agree with something or not you can’t skip the judicial system.”
The incident came during the first at-bat of the contest for Rodriguez, who was jeered and booed by the Boston crowd which held up signs saying “A-Roid” also chanted “You’re a cheater” at the Yankees’ third baseman.
“It was a little bit odd. It was a weird situation,” Rodriguez said of the incident. “Not everyone agrees with me. It seems with all the boos, I still have a lot of people in my corner.”
Rodriguez said Sunday he is used to being the bad guy.
“I have always been booed,” he said. “Obviously I am going through a tough time right now.”
On his first pitch to the 38-year-old American Rodriguez, Dempster fired a 89 mph fastball behind his back. Dempster seemed to be in no mood to let Rodriguez get a hit, as two pitches later he nailed the Yankee with a laser to the rib cage.
Dempster then walked towards Rodriguez, who did not charge the mound — but instead an upset Girardi stormed out of the dugout to confront umpire Brian O’Nora. Girardi also had a few choice words for Dempster.
That’s when both teams also came out onto the field and were given warnings by O’Nora. No punches were thrown by the players and no one was injured.
“The game has a way of policing itself,” Rodriguez said.
Girardi was so livid that O’Nora kicked him out of the contest. At one point Girardi appeared to throw a right cross in the direction of the home plate umpire.
Rodriguez responded to the plunking with a home run off to the outfield seats off Dempster in the sixth inning to cut the Boston’s lead to 6-4. Dempster turned his back to Rodriguez as he rounded the bases.
“I didn’t scream anything at him. I was very excited to hit the home run,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, who was slapped with the longest non-lifetime suspension in Major League Baseball history, is now booed vociferously when he travels outside of Yankees’ stadium, especially to Fenway, the ballpark of New York’s long-time American League rivals.
Earlier this month, the league banned Rodriguez and 12 other players following a probe into the Florida-based clinic, which has been accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez’s homer was the 649th of his career. He needs 11 more to tie Willie Mays on the all-time list, which would net him a $6 million Yankee bonus.