Friday, June 6, 2008
Source: Red Sox dugout spat due to Youkilis' actions after at-bat
By Enrique Rojas
BOSTON -- The emotions from an on-field brawl in Thursday's Red Sox-Rays game may have brought a chemistry issue to light for the defending World Series champs.
Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez and first baseman Kevin Youkilis had to be separated after exchanging words in the dugout at the end of the fourth inning in Thursday's 7-1 win over Tampa Bay.
Ramirez pointed at Youkilis before being escorted down the runway at Fenway Park toward the clubhouse by trainer Paul Lessard and a few other players. Later in the game, NESN, the team's broadcast network, showed grainy footage of Ramirez apparently taking a swipe at Youkilis.
A Red Sox source told ESPNdeportes.com that the cause of the dugout disagreement was Youkilis' temper following a poor at-bat.
"It all happened because Manny complained about Youkilis' habit of throwing bats, helmets and other objects in the dugout when he has a bad at-bat, something that has become a constant practice," the source said.
"Other players have told Youkilis in the past about the situation, which makes him look selfish and that he is more worried about each at-bat than about the team. If Boston is winning easily, there's no reason to throw objects all over the dugout because of a bad at-bat.
"There was a meeting where the team let Youkilis know that many of his teammates were tired of his explosive reactions for each bad plate appearance. It became very bothersome
more so when the team is winning and it's in first place. There's not much room for individualistic attitudes."
The Red Sox were 38-25 entering Friday's game with Seattle and are 1½ games ahead of the Rays in the AL East standings.
Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Coco Crisp both said they didn't know what happened during Thursday's disagreement.
"I really didn't see it," Pedroia said. "I was running out onto the field. We're around each other a lot, but we love each other. We're a team."
"You have to ask them," Crisp said. "I was eating next to Youkilis and said I don't want to know. I saw Manny. He was speaking in Spanish."
Tempers already were high in the Red Sox dugout following a second-inning melee in which both benches cleared. The fight started when Crisp was hit on the right hip by a pitch from James Shields. Crisp dropped his bat, charged the mound and ducked a punch by Shields before throwing a few punches himself.
Crisp was tackled to the ground by Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro. Rays designated hitter Jonny Gomes charged the mound from the dugout, jumped on Navarro and Crisp and threw several punches that hit Crisp while he was on the ground.
Crisp, who had a scratch on his forehead and right cheek, was most upset with what happened under the pile.
"I charged the mound. [Shields] tried to hit me with a punch," Crisp said. "I'm not upset at all. We fought. That's all it is. There were some cheap shots there."
Crisp, Shields and Gomes were ejected.
On Friday, Ramirez seemed to want to put the incident with Youkilis behind him. He strolled into the middle of the team's clubhouse with a bat in his hand and a smile on his face.
"It's in the past," Ramirez said. "It's a new day."
Ramirez was not in Friday's starting lineup, as he was resting his sore right hamstring.
But the hamstring was not what most of the media wanted to learn more about.
"Don't worry about it," was a phrase he repeated a few times. "It's a new day."
When asked what he might have said to Youkilis, Ramirez just replied, "what happened is nobody's business."
Youkilis took the same approach a few minutes earlier when he headed out for batting practice.
"It's good," he said, quickly walking past reporters. "It's over. A new day."
Ramirez's right knee appeared to buckle when he took a pitch from Dan Wheeler in the seventh. Ramirez continued to flex his leg after drawing a walk before leaving for pinch runner Kevin Cash one batter later.
"Everything's good," he said of the knee. "Just kind of sore. It's just going to be one day. I'm going to test it during BP."
When his brief gathering with the media was over, he walked away with one final thought.
"We're here to win championships," he said, when he got about five feet away. "Don't worry about it."
Manager Terry Francona also played down the incident, as he did after the game.
"We had a lot of emotions going last night, a lot of things happen with teams that aren't seen," he said. "We'll just move on and sometimes you're better for it."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.