Tuesday August 20, 2013 | 06:14 AM

Ryan Dempster's first pitch to Alex Rodriguez zipped behind his legs. That should have been message enough, but Dempster continued throwing inside and finally hit Rodriguez.

For that, Dempster should be suspended and miss a start (which is not actually a bad thing for Boston).

For an excellent take on the situation, read USA Today's Bob Nightengale, who interviewed former pitcher Russ Springer, who had once plunked Barry Bonds.

Now for some positive pitching news we look at Jon Lester's line from Monday night:

8 1/3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. ERA creeping back down (now at 4.09).

Brandon Workman finished the night by striking out the two batters he faced ... Daniel Nava continued his hot August nights (batting .424 this month), going 3-for-4.

The Rays beat the Orioles. The standings: 

Red Sox 74-53
Rays 71-52 (1 game back)
Orioles 67-57 (5.5)
Yankees 64-59 (8)
Jays 57-67 (15.5)

Tonight features two right-handers: Jake Peavy (1-1, 5.00) against Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 6.75) ... Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is expected to make his first MLB start. He becomes the third player from this year's Sea Dogs roster to make his MLB debut.

More good pitching news from Pawtucket and Portland as two pitchers show signs of regaining their stuff.

Reliever Clay Mortensensen was earlier removed from the 40-man roster. He is now starting for the PawSox and he pitched six innings Monday: 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K, improving to 3-0, 2.95 ERA ... Brock Huntzinger (1.67) pitched one-hit ball over 1 2/3 innings ... Jackie Bradley Jr. (.280) was 2-for-4 ... Dan Butler (.269) hit his 14th home run.

Lefty Chris Hernandez was demoted to Double-A Portland to re-discover his command. Looking good so far. Hernandez (1-0, 2.25) threw 8 innings: 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K in the Sea Dogs 3-2 win ... Garin Cecchini (.305 / .419 OBP) was 1-for-3 with a walk.

EL East Wild Card Race
Trenton 66-61
New Hampshire 62-64 (3.5 games back)
Portland 61-66 (5)
New Britain 59-69 (7.5)

The Sea Dogs play at 6 tonight at Hadlock.

Salem catcher Blake Swihart (.285) was 2-for-4 with a double and triple.





About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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