BOSTON -- The long-standing feud between Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira and Boston reliever Vicente Padilla boiled over Sunday when Padilla charged Teixeira with being racist toward Latinos when the two were teammates with Texas.
Padilla apparently was responding to critical comments Teixeira made about him after Friday night's game, in which Teixeira hit a go-ahead two-run triple off Padilla. Teixeira accused him of intentionally throwing at batters, which was a problem when they were Rangers teammates in 2006-07 because Teixeira often was the target of retaliation from opponents.
In his remarks to NESN.com, Padilla said Teixeira once threatened to hit him with a bat, a charge Teixeira flatly denied.
Padilla elaborated on those allegations Sunday, telling Marly Rivera of ESPN Desportes: "We used to be friends, but then there was this incident when I hit someone unintentionally and then he got hit. He said he would retaliate and hit me with a bat, and I guess it escalated from there."
Regarding his charge of racism, Padilla also told ESPN Desportes: "I believe he does have a bit of a problem with Hispanic players because it wasn't just against me when we were teammates."
Meeting with reporters before Sunday night's series finale at Fenway Park, Teixeira denied ever threatening Padilla with a bat and expressed amazement at the charge of racism. "That's just comedy," Teixeira said with a look of exasperation. "It's funny. I mean, it really is."
Reminded of the serious nature of the allegation, he said: "I ask you guys to interview every one of my Latin teammates in this clubhouse and ask them. That's why it's funny, because it's completely erroneous."
Teixeira said his differences with Padilla stemmed from the fact that he and former Rangers teammate Michael Young bore the brunt of retaliation because of Padilla's tactics. "I think the last straw in Texas was when Michael Young got hit and they showed [Padilla] laughing on the bench," Teixeira said. "[Padilla] got released that day. Michael Young is one of my best friends in baseball, so we obviously took exception every time that we get hit because of [Padilla's] actions. That's putting our season and our team in jeopardy."
Yankees teammates Robinson Cano and Freddy Garcia said they never have observed problems between Teixeira and his Latino teammates. "I judge guys by the way they are with me," said Cano, who greeted Teixeira with a playful chest bump on the way into the clubhouse. "I don't have any problem with him. He's one of the coolest guys on the team. Every day we're joking."
"Tex is a great guy," Garcia added. "Last year, I play with him and never had an issue. He's a really great guy, a good player, a family guy. I see he respects everybody."
Despite the two-run triple he allowed to Teixeira that erased a 7-6 Boston lead Friday night, Padilla told NESN.com and ESPN Desportes that he believes Teixeira is "scared to face me" because the reliever pitches inside. He suggested Teixeira would be "better off playing women's sport."
Told of that remark, Teixeira shrugged and said: "I guess women's boxing is pretty tough. I don't know if I could handle that."
As for whether the bad blood between the players might lead to a physical altercation, Teixeira vowed to avoid a brawl. "I'm not going to charge the mound because I don't want to get my teammates hurt," he said. "I've had too many teammates hurt in bench-clearing brawls. That would be selfish of me. So if [Padilla] wants to keep throwing at people, that's his prerogative."