Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels learned Monday night that honesty is not always the best policy.
The lesson was delivered in the form of a fine and a five-game suspension from the commissioner's office after Hamels surprisingly admitted Sunday night that he intentionally drilled Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper during the first inning of the Phillies' 9-3 win at Nationals Park.
Hamels, 28, did not comment before Monday night's game against the New York Mets, but the team said after batting practice that the lefthander would begin serving the suspension immediately.
The impact is about as minimal as it can get.
Hamels will be available to pitch again Sunday, when the Phillies play the San Diego Padres. The team said it did not know whether Hamels would make that start, but it seems likely that he will.
Hamels had been scheduled to pitch Saturday night against the Padres, but the team could fill that void with Roy Halladay, who would be pitching on regular rest after starting Monday's game against the Mets.
Far more interesting were the comments by Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Rizzo told the Washington Post that Hamels was "gutless" and "classless" and "fake tough" for hitting the Nationals' 19-year-old phenom, who later stole home plate in the first inning.
"Cole Hamels says he's old-school? He's the polar opposite of old-school," Rizzo said. "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."
Amaro did not rush to defend Hamels, and the general manager said he had a conversation with his pitcher about what he did and said.
"If what he said is true, I'm kind of disappointed," Amaro said. "One, in the fact that it happened, but, two, more importantly, that he made those comments. That's a little disappointing. 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.
"Things that happen in the game happen in the game. That's part of the game. But as far as how the Phillies want to conduct themselves, we like to try to take the high road on things like this. By no means are we condoning trying to be injurious."
Amaro refused to address Rizzo's incendiary remarks about Hamels and said he would not be talking to his Nationals peer about the incident.
"There's no reason for me to do that," he said.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel admitted he was surprised Hamels had admitted to drilling Harper.
"He could have been a little more discreet about it," Manuel said. "He could have been a little less honest."
Manuel believes that the Nationals evened things up when righthander Jordan Zimmermann drilled Hamels in the knee as the Phillies pitcher attempted to put down a bunt in the third inning.
"There was no warning or nothing, and I think they got a chance to get even by hitting him," Manuel said. "That kind of made it a wash."
Both benches were warned after Zimmermann hit Hamels, but in the opinion of the commissioner's office, only Hamels' actions deserved punishment.
Several Phillies anonymously said they did not have a problem with Hamels' action on the mound, but were disappointed about what he said afterward.
"You cannot be honest," reliever Chad Qualls said. "You cannot be honest."
Earlier in the day, Qualls got into a heated Twitter discussion with Morgan Ensberg, a former big-league infielder who was a teammate of the Phillies reliever in Houston.
Ensberg laid the blame on Hamels, tweeting that "Cole Hamels disappointed me today by hitting Harper. No honor there. Whoever is the leader of that team doesn't have control."
Qualls' counter on Twitter: "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 u do."
This much is clear: The Phillies and Nationals now have a legitimate dislike for each other.