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Friday, August 18, 2006
Girardi remains mum about possible rift with Loria

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi sat in the home dugout Friday for the first time since a rift with his boss erupted, the details and ramifications of the episode still fuzzy.

Girardi said he hasn't seen owner Jeffrey Loria in more than a week. They clashed when the Marlins last played in Miami on Aug. 6, prompting a clubhouse meeting that lasted nearly 90 minutes.

"Everyone is going to speculate about what happened," Girardi said before his team opened a homestand against Atlanta. "I know exactly what happened. I don't think it's my job to share."

Loria, sitting behind the plate at the Aug. 6 game, was berating the umpire when Girardi told him or asked him to stop, witnesses said. Loria angrily left his seat and confronted Girardi in the manager's office after the game.

Loria has declined to comment on the episode or respond to published reports that he fired Girardi but then changed his mind.

When asked Friday if he was asked that day to step down, Girardi hesitated and said, "Um, no. But there's internal stuff that's meant to stay internal, and that's what it will do on my part."

Regarding friction within the organization, Girardi said, "Internal is internal."

In his first year as a manager, Girardi has helped baseball's youngest team exceed expectations. The Marlins were widely projected to lose more than 100 games but instead began the weekend on the fringe of the NL wild-card race.

Girardi, under contract through 2008, hedged when asked about returning next season.

"I don't know where I'm going to be tomorrow," he said. "As a player I didn't worry about where I was going to be the next year, and as a manager I don't think like that. That's just not my personality."

Loria didn't attend Friday's game against Atlanta but was expected to be at the ballpark this weekend, a team spokesman said.