Today the New York Yankees regained an AWOL outfielder, lost a ball game and acquired a grading system.
The outfielder was Ken Griffey, who was fined $10,000 but refused to say why he missed Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox. The ball game was a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox that completed a three-game sweep for Boston. The grading system was instituted by owner George Steinbrenner, who called a news conference earlier in the day to criticize his team.
In a statement released by the team, Griffey said: "My reasons for leaving are personal. Anything more than that would have to come from my agent."
Steinbrenner announced the fine, but wouldn't provide reasons for Griffey's absence "It's the man's personal business," he said. "There are no extenuating circumstances and it's not related to anything in the locker room. That's what his agent told me. As far as I know, he's been pretty happy and he's been doing a pretty good job."
Griffey was batting .266 with seven homers and 21 RBI at the time of his disappearance.
In tonight's game, former Yankee Don Baylor broke a tie with a three-run double in the ninth inning to support the eight-hit pitching of Oil Can Boyd (9-4). The loss was the fourth in a row for the Yankees and seventh straight at home.
Marty Barrett led off the ninth with a walk off reliever Bob Shirley (0-3) and went to third on Ed Romero's double to left. With one out, Brian Fisher relieved Shirley and intentionally walked Jim Rice to load the bases. Baylor lined a 3-2 pitch into left-center.
Griffey had a double in the second inning to help the Yankees tie the score, 1-1, then created a 2-2 tie with a home run in the sixth.
The Yankees have held preliminary talks with the Atlanta Braves regarding a trade of Griffey for shortstop Rafael Ramirez, according to the New York Daily News.
This afternoon, Steinbrenner, blaming mental errors for the Yankees' slump, announced a crackdown under which his players will be evaluated by a grading system and prohibited from making speaking engagements during the season.
"It's time for our million-dollar employes to start looking like million-dollar employes," he said. "If you want to get paid like a champion, you've got to play like a champion. We're not playing up to our potential."