Mirabelli accuses Pads' GM of character 'assassination'
BOSTON -- Red Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli accused Padres general manager Kevin Towers of character "assassination" and acting unprofessionally in publicly criticizing the former San Diego catcher.
Mirabelli constantly complained to Towers during his short stay with San Diego and, the day before he was traded to Boston on May 1, told the general manager to start Rob Bowen in his place "because I'm not focused on the game," according to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday.
Discussing a private conversation in public "is as unprofessional as you could possibly get, especially being at the helm of a huge organization," Mirabelli said after Boston's 7-3 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night. "It caught me off guard. I've dealt with it all day. I had a hard time even concentrating on the game."
Mirabelli had one of his better games of the season, going 2-for-3 with one RBI to raise his batting average to .192.
The light-hitting backup was traded by Boston after last season for second baseman Mark Loretta. He reacquired for pitcher Cla Meredith and catcher Josh Bard, who had 10 passed balls as knuckleballer Tim Wakefield's personal catcher, the job Mirabelli had performed well in previous seasons. Meredith and Bard have played very well for the Padres.
Asked what upset or shocked him the most about the article, Mirabelli said: "Other than every quote that was said in there?"
"Obviously it was an assassination directly at my character for unprovoked reasons. I've been gone for five months. I mean, to just randomly come after Doug Mirabelli? For what reason? Because you don't like me? I mean, you don't have to like me. Obviously he doesn't like me," Mirabelli said.
Towers said in the article that Mirabelli was upset when the Padres obtained catcher Mike Piazza. Mirabelli said before Tuesday's game that he didn't want to be traded from Boston but thought he would get a lot of playing time. That perception changed when the Padres obtained Piazza.
"If I'm a backup catcher, which is what I am, then I wanted to be here" in Boston, Mirabelli said.
On the day before the trade "Mirabelli was calling my phone like 5-6 in the morning. I finally get to [Petco] Park . . . I get into the clubhouse and he says, 'KT, can we have some private time?' " Towers was quoted as saying in the Union-Tribune.
That's when Mirabelli suggested the Padres might want to start Bowen, according to the article.
"I said, 'What?"' Towers said in the article. "He said, 'My boys, the [Red] Sox have been calling me. I got to tell you, it's all I watch on TV; all I think about is the Red Sox. Do me a favor and you guys a favor" and make a deal.
Towers also said, according to the newspaper, "I don't miss him. These guys [on the Padres] don't miss him."
Mirabelli challenged that after Tuesday's game.
"The big sign will be if there's guys that are in that clubhouse that know me and if asked and they don't come to my defense in this situation then Kevin Towers is right, maybe I did do something wrong," Mirabelli said, "but I find that hard to believe that they won't come to my defense."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press