Yankees to play Devil Rays twice on Wednesday

Updated: September 8, 2004, 1:22 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees withdrew Tuesday their request that a postponed game with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays be forfeited, and Major League Baseball announced the game would be made up as part of a doubleheader Wednesday.

"It was the only option unless you wanted to play it at the end of the regular season," Yankees manager Joe Torre said Tuesday.

On Monday, the Yankees asked the commissioner's office to award them a forfeit over Tampa Bay after the Devil Rays failed to arrive in time Monday because of travel problems due to Hurricane Frances. Commissioner Bud Selig made it clear that he had no intention of awarding a forfeit.

"We appreciate the continuing accommodation of the New York Yankees and their fans and apologize to them for any inconvenience that the delays may have cause," Bob DuPuy, chief operating officer of the commissioner's office, said in a statement Tuesday. "As the commissioner made clear, it is critical that the outcome of the pennant races be determined on the field."

Fans were given free hots dogs and soda all evening, so it's conceivable that the Yankees will ask baseball for financial reimbursement as a result of any lost revenue from Monday.

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella was angry that the Yankees had asked the commissioner's office to declare the other game a forfeit victory for them.

"If it'd been reversed, and that hurricane would have been here in the New York area as opposed to the Tampa area, the Yankees should have stayed at home and forgotten about the ballgame in Tampa. Period," Piniella told reporters.

"Let me tell you this: I think when you look at baseball, it's important," Piniella continued. "Your family is doubly important or triply important and when a hurricane is beating down on the Florida coast, 160, 70, 80 miles from your hometown, I think you take care of your family first and you worry about the ballgame second.

"I know the Yankees are in a pennant race, but I also know that our kids are young and have a lot of young kids at home. There was flooding, there are a lot of things that occurred over a two-day period in Florida, and I think everybody was more comfortable being with their family than being in New York sitting in a hotel waiting to play a baseball game."

The Yankees are 2½ games ahead of Boston in the AL East.

DuPuy added that any issues involving the Devil Rays' travel was a matter of review between the commissioner's office and the team only.

"Obviously, I didn't want to play a doubleheader tomorrow. I'm sure [Piniella] didn't want to play a doubleheader tomorrow," Torre said. "The only thing that bothers me about the whole thing is that we were ready to play a doubleheader yesterday. We had our guys out here all day."

General manager Chuck LaMar said the team never intended to leave for New York until Sunday night or Monday. The team endured travel delays Monday of up to 10 hours before landing in New York.

"We decided, and we made the right decision, we'll stick by that decision, to stay with our families," he said. "We wanted to stay in the Tampa Bay area, wait out the storm with our families."

The teams were originally scheduled to play a doubleheader Monday starting at 1 p.m., but the start time was pushed back two hours on Sunday. Because of the delay in Tampa Bay's arrival, the commissioner's office told the teams to play one game at 7 p.m. and said it would decide later on when to reschedule the second game.

Wednesday's doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 4:05 p.m., though rain is in the forecast. Esteban Loaiza (9-7) will start the first game for the Yankees against Mark Hendrickson (8-14). Brad Halsey (1-2), recently recalled from the minors, will pitch Game 2 against Tampa Bay's Dewon Brazelton (6-6).

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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