PHILADELPHIA - It was all a matter of player safety.

That's what Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa insisted Wednesday, one day after he lost his legendary temper and appeared to threaten Mets infielder Daniel Murphy with a plunking.

Bowa was ejected on Tuesday night, irate over reliever Hansel Robles, who threw a quick pitch when pinch-hitter Darin Ruf still had his head down in the batter's box.

"When you're in the box, and the first thing you do is you check your stance, and your head's down and you look up and the ball's right here, someone's going to get hurt," Bowa told a group of Philadelphia reporters Wednesday night. "And if it hits somebody in the face, they could get killed."

Bowa also appeared to motion toward his ribs during a staredown with Murphy, who flipped his bat after homering in Monday night's rout.

A day later, Bowa acknowledged the bat flip, but insisted that it "had nothing to do with" his outburst. Instead, his anger stemmed from the quick pitch when Ruf's head was down.

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Manager Terry Collins called the pitch legal, though Bowa insisted that it violated baseball etiquette.

Umpire Dan Bellino quickly waved off the pitch. Nevertheless, it drew the ire of Bowa and veteran Jeff Franceour.

Players from both teams spilled onto the field though the hostilities ended there.

Before Wednesday night's game, Bowa and Collins spoke briefly on the field. The two baseball veterans remain close friends.

Bowa said he expects to here from Major League Baseball, which according to a source, is reviewing Tuesday night's incident. Specifically, officials are looking into Bowa's comments directed at Murphy.

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Collins did not expect any bad blood to spill over into tWednesday night's game.

Said Collins: "They had seven at-bats to retaliate."

Extra bases

David Wright is expected to return to the lineup tonight. As planned, he did not start Wednesday night after playing in back-to-back games upon his return from a four-month absence . . . Jacob deGrom expects to make his next start, though he is still feeling ill.