al notebook

Torre: Rodriguez Was Wrong to Distract Fielder

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Even Joe Torre says Alex Rodriguez was out of line. The 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 Rodriguez broke the sport's unwritten code.

"He may have been excited about the fact that we were leading the ballgame," Torre said yesterday. "It was probably inappropriate to do it at the time he did it, but you can't change it, unfortunately."

The play occurred in the ninth inning of New York's 10-5 win in 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 3B Howie Clark, Rodriguez said something and 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's 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. But Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman wasn't convinced Rodriguez did anything wrong.

Meantime, Torre was ejected from last night's game against the Red Sox in the fifth inning, shortly after a close play at third base went against the slumping Yankees.

New York was already leading 9-3 when Bobby Abreu was caught stealing at third base. Umpire Jerry Crawford called him out, but replays appeared to show third baseman Kevin Youkilis was late with the tag.

Torre argued the call briefly at the time, then went back out several batters later during a Boston pitching change and was ejected.

· LOWELL LEAVES GAME: Red Sox 3B Mike Lowell left the game against the Yankees after being hit by a pitch on his wrist. Lowell was hit by RHP Chien-Ming Wang to lead off the third inning and was replaced in the field at the start of the fifth.

Lowell was found to have a bruise.

· TWO ARE SUSPENDED: Detroit DH Gary Sheffield and San Diego C Josh Bard were suspended for three games each by the commissioner's office for confrontations with umpires on Wednesday night. Both players filed appeals, meaning they cannot be penalized until after hearings and decisions on the appeals.

-- From News Services

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