D-Rays deny any contact with Zimmer

Updated: November 1, 2003, 4:42 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

It looks like Don Zimmer will be making many more appearances at Yankee Stadium next season. They just won't be in pinstripes.

Zimmer is expected to sign on as a coach with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, sources close to the 72-year-old baseball veteran told the New York Post on Thursday.

Should Zimmer join the D-Rays, it would be the 56th straight year for him in uniform. However, the D-Rays deny the report.

"Don Zimmer is a credit to the game of baseball, and his positive impact on the game is immeasurable," Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar said Friday. "However, we have not had any contact whatsoever with him concerning employment with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays."

Zimmer would be staying in the AL East, but going from first place to the basement. The D-Rays showed improvement under new manager Lou Piniella last season, but still lost 99 games.

Zimmer was reportedly upset about a midseason incident when George Steinbrenner order a clubhouse aide "not to go in the coaches' room. I don't want you talking to those a-------!" the New York Daily News reported during the playoffs.

After the Yankees beat the Red Sox to win the pennant, Zimmer expressesd his frustration. "This is one a------ they don't have to worry about being fired," he said. "He (Steinbrenner) don't have to worry about that 'cause I won't be back. I'm a human being and I ain't been treated like one in 11 months!"

After the World Series ended, Zimmer vowed never to work for the Boss again.

"I think Zim is gone," Yankees manager Joe Torre said Friday during a telephone conference call. "I talked to him Sunday. He seemed pretty determined that he didn't want to come back here. We're certainly going to miss him."

It was quite a postseason for Zimmer. In Game 3 of the ALCS, Zimmer was involved in a melee that saw him get tossed to the ground by Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez. Zimmer left the ballpark on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital with what the Yankees said was a strained left groin.

Zimmer tearfully apologized the next day for his actions and was fined $5,000 by Major League Baseball.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.