By ROB MAADDI, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cole Hamels earned a five-game suspension for the way he welcomed Bryce Harper to the big leagues.
The 2008 World Series MVP was suspended for intentionally throwing at the Washington rookie in the Philadelphia Phillies' 9-3 win over the Nationals on Sunday night.
Major League Baseball announced the penalty Monday. Hamels also was fined.
Hamels wasn't available to reporters before the Phillies opened a three-game series against the New York Mets. But he already admitted that he deliberately threw at Harper.
"I was trying to hit him," the two-time All-Star lefty said Sunday night. "I'm not going to deny it. I'm not trying to injure the guy. They're probably not going to like me for it, but I'm not going to say I wasn't trying to do it. I think they understood the message, and they threw it right back. That's the way, and I respect it."
Hamels began serving his suspension Monday night. With Cliff Lee expected to come off the disabled list and start Wednesday, coupled with Thursday's day off, Hamels really won't miss a turn in the rotation.
Roy Halladay will likely pitch on regular rest Saturday and Hamels would then start Sunday against the San Diego Padres.
Hamels plunked Harper in the small of the back with a fastball in the first inning. He said the purpose pitch was his old-school way of welcoming the 19-year-old Nationals phenom to the big leagues.
"That's something I grew up watching, that's kind of what happened. So I'm just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it," Hamels said. "I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything because that's the way baseball is.
"But I think unfortunately the league's protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball."
Harper got the last word, though. When Hamels made a pickoff to first, Harper stole home for the first swipe of his eight-game big league career.
In the third inning, Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann hit Hamels in the left leg with one out and a runner on first when the Phillies pitcher squared to bunt. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher warned both dugouts.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told The Washington Post that Hamels hitting Harper with a pitch was "classless" and "gutless."
According to the newspaper's website, Rizzo also said: "Cole Hamels says he's old school? He's the polar opposite of old school. He's fake tough. He thinks he's going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who's eight games into the big leagues? He doesn't know who he's dealing with."
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he wished Hamels wouldn't have been so forthcoming with his comments.
"I wish he had been a little bit more, what do you call it, not so honest, or dishonest, or discreet, that might be the right word," Manuel said in a radio interview on the team's flagship station. "What I saw was the next time Hamels came up to bat, they definitely retaliated, he got hit on the calf and he could have got hurt. If the guy would have hit him hard on the bone part of his leg, that could have hurt. ... I like to think it was dropped right there and the rest of it will be done baseball-wise."
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