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Hamels suspended 5 games for hitting Harper

Hamels suspended five games for hitting Harper

Hamels suspended 5 games for hitting Harper
PHILADELPHIA -- The moment Cole Hamels admitted he purposely drilled Bryce Harper with a pitch Sunday, everybody knew he would be suspended.

He was.

Major League Baseball on Monday suspended Hamels five games and fined him an undisclosed amount for his bean ball. Hamels did not appeal the suspension and began serving it immediately.

The effect of the suspension on the Phillies is minimal. Hamels, who was unavailable to comment before Monday's series opener against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, had been scheduled to pitch Saturday against the San Diego Padres. But because the Phillies do not play Thursday, manager Charlie Manuel on Tuesday said they will have Roy Halladay pitch Saturday on regular rest and push Hamels' start to Sunday.

"It's kind of disappointing it even happened," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "If what he said is true, I'm kind of disappointed. Obviously, that's not what we're about. We're not about trying to injure people, if that's what people are thinking out there."

The story gained a full head of steam Monday morning, when Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo blasted Hamels in an interview with The Washington Post. Rizzo called Hamels "gutless," "classless" and "fake-tough."

Amaro declined comment when asked about Rizzo's remarks, and said he had no plans to talk to Rizzo about them.

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann hit Hamels with a pitch in the third inning, but denied throwing at him intentionally. He was not suspended or fined, which was expected.

Phillies players kept mostly quiet before the game. There would be little point for them to comment on the situation, as that would extend the story another day. But they were far from angry with their teammate. Quietly, they had no problem with Hamels throwing at Harper, but they were perplexed -- like everybody else -- why he decided to come clean and admit it publicly.

"He could have been a little bit more discreet about it, or a little less honest," Manuel said.

Phillies right-hander Chad Qualls applauded Hamels on Twitter for his honesty. His former Houston Astros teammate, Morgan Ensberg, criticized Hamels and the Phillies, when he tweeted, "No honor there. Whoever is the leader of that team doesn't have control."

Qualls replied, "they hit cole right back but said not on purpose. Yeah right. At least cole was a man and didn't lie about it. ... A MAN. Not your actions but admitting to your actions. Not saying it slipped or I was trying to pitch inside. #manup for what you do."

Jonathan Papelbon, who participated for years in arguably the greatest rivalry in sports between the Yankees and Red Sox, seemed amused at the whole thing. Asked if Rizzo's comments bothered him, he chuckled, "No, man. It's the pros. It's the pros, man. This ain't the semi-pros."

Asked if he liked the rivalry that is developing between the Phillies and Nationals, Papelbon said, "I didn't know there was one."

Papelbon meant that sincerely. He has been with the Phillies a little more than a month. That was the first time he had faced the Nationals in a Phillies uniform.

"Jimmy, is this a rivalry?" Papelbon asked Jimmy Rollins, who was seated a few feet away in front of his locker.

"I don't know, man," Papelbon continued. "You're asking the wrong dude. I don't know."

"Any time you take the field, that's the rivalry," Rollins said.

But Papelbon did defend his teammate when asked if Rizzo's comments were a poor characterization of Hamels.

"Yeah, I'd say so," Papelbon said. "From what I know of Cole so far, I'd say so, yeah. I would say that's pretty much not the case. ... I really couldn't care less about it. I know Cole. When I judge you, I judge you face to face."

The Phillies and Nationals resume their season series May 21-23 in Philadelphia. It should be interesting, to say the least.

"I think if we beat them on the field, that's going to take care of our business and that's how we settle it," Manuel said. "Once they hit Hamels, that's baseball and it's back on even ground. It's kind of like they got even. That's kind of what baseball is about. There was no warning or nothing, and they got a chance to get even. I think by hitting him, that kind of made it a wash. What Rizzo says, that's no concern of mine."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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