Alex Rodriguez gestures towards Oakland's Dallas Braden during the top...

Alex Rodriguez gestures towards Oakland's Dallas Braden during the top of the sixth inning. (Apr. 22, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

How significant a breach of baseball protocol, if at all, was Alex Rodriguez's jaunt across Dallas Braden's mound in Oakland?

Depends on whom you ask.

There was no universal perspective - other than in the Yankees' clubhouse and Braden's, of course - in terms of whether the mound should be thought of as a sliver of acreage belonging solely to the pitcher.

"No big deal,'' CC Sabathia said, a sentiment pretty much shared by every Yankee.

Across the country, Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez said he didn't see what happened but that in general, his only concern would be a player crossing the mound while he was on it and saying something.

"If the guy says something to me or if he almost passes by me or brushes me or touches me, yeah , but if he goes back to the bench, no,'' he said Saturday at Citi Field.

Andy Pettitte said the incident was "blown out of proportion'' and said his concentration is elsewhere. Similar to K-Rod, he said the only way he would take issue would be if the baserunner came across while he was on the mound.

"If a guy's on first, I don't look around the field to see what's going on. You know what I'm saying?'' Pettitte said. "I'm thinking about the next pitch, about what I'm going to be throwing. I probably wouldn't even recognize it if he did. If a guy ran right across, I think that would annoy me. I think he would be trying to get under my skin.''

According to Braden, who appeared to be furious as he headed into the dugout when the inning ended, Rodriguez stepped on the rubber as he returned to first base after Robinson Cano's foul ball. Actually, A-Rod crossed the back of the mound and didn't have anything to say to Braden, who was well onto the infield grass at the time.

Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir told reporters that A-Rod chose an atypical path back to first base but that he likely would have let it go. "It's kind of weird that he would go up the hill like that, but I probably wouldn't have made that big a deal about it,'' Kazmir said, according to ESPNLosAngeles.

Former Mets pitcher and current analyst Ron Darling said, "Absolutely, hitters are not supposed to run over the mound. You stay off it.'' He said the mound is "the pitcher's place.''

But Darling seemed to indicate that the current fraternization in the game made Braden's outburst somewhat inconsistent.

"The game's changed,'' he said. "These guys are hugging and kissing each other before the game, they share the same agents, everyone's so happy. It's the country-club fraternity of baseball now. They've decided to make this a genteel game. For A-Rod not to know that that's inappropriate, though . . . everyone knows that. It's just that all these lines have been blurred. It's a country-club game.''

Of Darling's "everyone knows that'' statement, Mark Teixeira said: "I've never heard that.''

Braden said it was part of how he was brought up in the game, though Pettitte said, "16, 17, 18, 20 years ago when I was playing Legion ball, we never heard that.''

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, as old-school as managers get, told AOLFanhouse that "a lot of guys'' in the game don't know about the stay-off-the-mound code and that he is in Braden's corner. "He's been taught right,'' La Russa said.

Former catcher and Fox analyst Tim McCarver - who did not work yesterday's Yankees-Angels game - recalled legendary intimidator Bob Gibson and his viewpoint on hitters coming near the mound, which Gibson called his "office.''

"You never come into my office unless you're invited,'' McCarver quoted Gibson as saying. "And you'll never be invited.''

With Anthony Rieber

More Yankees headlines

Newsday LogoCovering LI news as it happensDigital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months