ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Joe Girardi figured he might as well earn the fine likely coming his way.
After being ejected by Scott Barry in the bottom of the fifth inning of Saturday’s 9-5 loss to the Rays, which came moments after pitching coach Larry Rothschild was tossed by the plate umpire, Girardi got his hands dirty.
Taking a break from yelling at Barry, Girardi walked several steps away, bent at the knees and, using both hands, covered home plate with dirt. He then stormed past Barry and back to the dugout.
“If I’m going to get tossed for asking about one of my coaches, I might as well get my money’s worth,” Girardi said.
A walk to Evan Longoria sparked the ejections, with Girardi and Rothschild believing that righty reliever Giovanny Gallegos got squeezed on three of the five pitches. Then, in a 10-pitch at-bat by Logan Morrison, the pair objected to 1-and-2 and 2-and-2 pitches that they felt were in the lower part of the strike zone but were called balls. Morrison finished the at-bat with a ground smash up the middle that deflected off Starlin Castro’s glove and went into centerfield for a two-run single that made it 9-4.
Rothschild went to the mound for a visit and was thrown out — for the fourth time since he’s been the Yankees’ pitching coach — shortly after Barry arrived to break up the mound meeting.
“There were a couple of good pitches in that sequence and I just said I thought he missed a couple of pitches,” Rothschild said. “That was it. Didn’t raise my voice, didn’t swear, didn’t do anything.”
Girardi said Rothschild wasn’t showing Barry up.
“So I asked him why he threw him out,” Girardi said. “He said, ‘He told me I missed a couple of pitches in that sequence, and you can’t come out and argue, either. You’re gone, too.’ It’s my right to find out what he said. I also thought he stared down some of our hitters today, too, for longer than he needed to when they questioned some calls.”
To be fair, when the Yankees scored a run in the top of the fifth, Rays starter Matt Andriese also did not get the low strike call on at least three pitches and seemed to take issue with the umpire.
Crew chief Paul Emmel spoke on behalf of Barry to a pool reporter. “You cannot argue pitches,” Emmel said. “[Both were] ejected for arguing pitches.”
After Girardi covered the plate, Barry did not clean it with his brush. Instead, catcher Gary Sanchez tried to wipe it clean.
Said Girardi, “I’m not very appreciative of that as well.”