NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez might not be winning many fans around baseball as he plays through the appeal of a 211-game suspension, but the New York Yankees clubhouse continues to get his back.
Two days after the third baseman was beaned by a pitch, Yankees manager Joe Girardi again called for Boston Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster to be suspended. Girardi is concerned that not suspending Dempster would set a precedent for opposing pitchers who face Rodriguez the remainder of the season.
"It just makes him open season for people," Girardi said, speaking before the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays.
''That baseball is a weapon. It's not a tennis ball. ... It's a weapon, and it can do a lot of damage to someone's life. And that's why I was so upset about it. You can express your opinion and be upset with someone, but you just can't start throwing baseballs at people. I mean, it's scary.''
Dempster hasn't admitted intentionally throwing at Rodriguez, but he threw a pitch behind A-Rod's knees and two more inside before finally striking him on the left elbow pad with a 3-0 pitch at Fenway Park on Sunday.
Major League Baseball is expected to rule on Tuesday or Wednesday whether Dempster will be disciplined. Girardi referenced A-Rod's ongoing appeal in stating his belief that Dempster should be suspended.
"If a player is suspended for throwing at someone, they're going to get their appeal," said Girardi. "Are we just going to throw that out, too? So, I mean, this is what's been negotiated (in the Collective Bargaining Agreement)."
After Rodriguez was hit on Sunday, Girardi was ejected for arguing a warning issued to both teams and the benches and bullpens emptied - although no altercations between the teams took place.
--Girardi said he does not have a specific date for the return of shortstop Derek Jeter, who was expected to play in a simulated game in Tampa on Tuesday and run the bases for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with a calf injury. Jeter became eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday.