Torre: Rodriguez shouldn't have tried to distract Blue Jays' fielder
BOSTON -- Even Joe Torre says Alex Rodriguez was out of line.
The New York Yankees manager concluded A-Rod shouldn't have distracted a Toronto fielder this week during a popup, joining a chorus of baseball people who said the two-time AL MVP broke the sport's unwritten code.
"He may have been excited about the fact that we were leading the ballgame," Torre said Friday before his team's series opener at Boston. "It was probably inappropriate to do it at the time he did it, but you can't change it, unfortunately."
Alex, New York, biggest contract, biggest team. That's combustible right there. If this is in Kansas City, it probably would be a story that wouldn't have lasted two days. It's a longer story and a louder story because it's New York and it's Alex Rodriguez.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman
The play occurred in the ninth inning of New York's 10-5 win at Toronto on Wednesday night.
With the Yankees leading 7-5, Rodriguez was on first base and ran hard when Jorge Posada popped up. As he ran near third baseman Howie Clark, Rodriguez said something -- 'Hah!' according to Rodriguez, 'Mine,' according to Clark. The ball dropped for a run-scoring single.
When the game ended, many Toronto players stayed on the bench, staring at Rodriguez and New York players.
"They were angry," Torre said. "Oh, there's no question. I can't say I blame them, but what are you going to do about it? What's happened has happened."
Torre said he spoke with Rodriguez after the game.
"It's probably something he shouldn't have done," Torre said. "I don't sense he's going to do it again."
Torre didn't explicitly tell Rodriguez not to do it, and Rodriguez didn't say he wouldn't, according to the manager, but it was clear to Torre there will be no repeat. A-Rod wasn't available to reporters before the game.
"When you know somebody, you sort of have a conversation and it's what you get out of it," Torre said. "I think he was probably uncomfortable with" the reaction.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wasn't convinced Rodriguez did anything wrong.
"I'm not sure what the difference between that and the hidden-ball trick is, or a catcher dekeing at home plate that a ball is not coming in and the last second he gets the ball and drops the tag down," Cashman said. "I'm kind of indifferent to it, because I was looking at it, trying to figure out, is this something that's not right?"
Cashman said he had heard reports that some players do the same thing and others that it doesn't happen.
It did happen in the bottom of the second inning Friday when the Red Sox had the bases loaded and two outs. J.D. Drew hit a popup short of third base. As Rodriguez camped under it, fans started screaming. He made the catch and threw the ball to a fan as he left the field. The fan threw it back onto the field.
Cashman said he wasn't sure the play in Toronto was "that big a deal, to be quite honest. But, obviously, other people had issues with it."
"Alex, New York, biggest contract, biggest team," Cashman said. "That's combustible right there. If this is in Kansas City, it probably would be a story that wouldn't have lasted two days. It's a longer story and a louder story because it's New York and it's Alex Rodriguez."
The Yankees placed DH Jason Giambi on the 15-day DL with torn tissue in his left foot that is expected to keep him out at least three to six weeks. "It could be longer," Cashman said. "No one's told me about season-ending." He said that Giambi has to rest and let the injury heal and that surgery is not an option. ... Torre said CF Johnny Damon, who is having calf problems, will be Giambi's primary replacement at DH.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press