(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels has been suspended five games for intentionally throwing at Washington rookie Bryce Harper.
Major League Baseball announced the penalty Monday. Hamels also was fined.
Hamels plunked Harper in the small of the back with a fastball in the first inning Sunday night. The Phillies won 9-3 and Hamels admitted that he deliberately threw at Harper.
Hamels 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," Hamels said. "So I'm just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it. 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."
Harper brushed off Hamels' comments on the purpose pitch, according to Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore:
Told Hamels admitted plunking him, Harper laughed. "He's a great guy, great pitcher, knows how to pitch. He's an all-star. It's all good."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 7, 2012
But in an interview with the Post on Monday,and "fake tough."
"I've never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball," Rizzo said.
Unless appealed, Hamels was scheduled to begin serving his suspension Monday night when the Phillies hosted the New York Mets.