MLB: Cole Hamels Suspended 5 Games After Intentionally Hitting Bryce Harper

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MLB: Cole Hamels Suspended 5 Games After Intentionally Hitting Bryce Harper
Cole Hamels received a 5 game ban for intentionally hitting rookie, Bryce Harper

Just days after intentionally plunking Major League Baseball's prodigious prospect, Bryce Harper, Cole Hamels was handed a five-game suspension from the MLB front office. 

In a postgame interview, Hamels said (via ESPN), "I was trying to hit him. 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 never held a bad reputation in the league, but after the classless act, that may change.

Detroit Tiger's manager, Jim Leyland, gave his take on the incident and the punishment that went with it. As told to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Leyland believed the act to be a disgrace to Major League Baseball and felt that Hamels deserved a minimum 15-game suspension.

Harper has remained relatively quiet about the altercation and essentially made Hamels pay just minutes after. After advancing to third on a single, Harper stole home on Hamels pick-off attempt to first base.

The Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies meet again for a three-game series on May 21st and with the combination of this incident and the fact that the Nationals are now viable contenders to take the NL East in 2012, the matchup looks have evolved into baseball's newest heated rivalry. 

The matchup may not reach the magnitude of the Yankees-Red Sox and Reds-Cardinals rivalries, but with the animosity birthed from Sunday's game, it definitely has the potential.  

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