Yanks lose A-Rod, Girardi to ejections
Disputed third-strike call leads Foster to toss both from finale
NEW YORK -- It was not long after home-plate umpire Marty Foster ejected Alex Rodriguez from Sunday's 13-3 win over the Orioles that the Yankees flashed back to July, when Foster and Derek Jeter engaged in a spat. Jeter, called out attempting to steal third base that day, contended afterward that Foster told him a tag was unnecessary on the play.
A week's worth of he-said she-said scuttlebutt ensued and then finally died. Until now.
In the fifth inning on Sunday, Foster ejected both Rodriguez and manager Joe Girardi, reigniting the relationship between the Yankees and an umpire whom Rodriguez twice called "unprofessional."
"I don't know what his deal is with the Yankees," Rodriguez said. "To tell Jeter to get off the field and to throw me out without a warning -- I think in the heat of the moment, not arguing balls and strikes, I think there should be a little room for error where you can actually argue, take out your frustration and let the game go on."
Not pleased with a called third strike to end the fourth inning on Sunday, Rodriguez took his place at third base in the top of the fifth inning, then darted into the video room afterward to review his at-bat. Shortly after Rodriguez returned to the Yankees' dugout, Foster ejected him, prompting Girardi to step onto the field and begin berating the umpire.
Girardi, arguing animatedly even after his own ejection, at one point had to be restrained by crew chief Wally Bell.
"These games are extremely important to us, and I just thought he could have warned him," Girardi said. "I didn't think what Alex said warranted him getting thrown out of the game."
After the game, Rodriguez and Foster offered varying stories.
According to Rodriguez, the third baseman became upset when Foster and Orioles catcher Chad Moeller engaged in a conversation during his at-bat in the fourth. When Rodriguez returned to the dugout in the fifth inning and overheard the two strike up a conversation again, he told Foster to "keep talking" to Moeller, prompting the ejection.
"I don't argue balls and strikes," Rodriguez said. "You guys have seen me play for a long time. I never argue balls and strikes. I really don't get caught up in that; I really don't care much for it."
In Foster's version, Rodriguez argued balls and strikes not only after his strikeout, but from third base the following inning and then "screaming from the dugout" in the middle of the fifth.
"He was ejected for arguing pitches from the dugout," Foster said.
Whatever the case, Major League Baseball will review the situation to determine whether Girardi will be suspended for his actions.
"I'm not concerned about that," Girardi said.
And regardless of the outcome, it is clear that Foster and the Yankees are brewing a contentious relationship.
Foster originally drew the ire of the Yankees during a July 6 game against the Blue Jays, in which replays showed that Jeter appeared to safely steal third base. After the game, Jeter argued not that Foster had made an incorrect call, but that in his explanation, he said that Blue Jays third baseman Scott Rolen did not have to tag him to record the out.
Two days later, crew chief John Hirschbeck publicly challenged Jeter's account of the situation. The argument died soon after, until Foster and the Yankees renewed hostilities on Sunday.
"Every day is a new day, every inning is a new inning," Bell said. "You keep bringing [the Jeter play] up, and I keep telling you what's in the past is in the past. That was a long time ago. If Girardi wants to bring it up, that's up to him. We're not going to discuss it."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.