ANAHEIM, Calif. - A day later, Alex Rodriguez still was very much amused.
"It's really funny," he said before Friday night's game against the Angels. "There's really nothing else to say about that. It's really a non-issue."
Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden started what Rodriguez and his teammates felt was a non-issue, though a thoroughly entertaining one, after the Yankees' 4-2 loss Thursday in Oakland. Braden objected to what he thought was a major breach of one of baseball's codes.
After singling with one out in the top of the sixth, Rodriguez rounded second and made it halfway to third when Robinson Cano hit a long foul ball to left. On his way back to first, A-Rod cut across the mound, incensing Braden. The pitcher immediately yelled at Rodriguez and did so again after Cano grounded into a double play. Rodriguez responded by waving at Braden dismissively.
Braden, 26, lit into Rodriguez afterward. "You want to run across the mound? Go run laps in the bullpen," Braden said among his more docile remarks. "That's my mound. That's the bottom line."
"I was tired," Rodriguez said with a smile Friday, adding that he's done it a "few dozen" times in his career. "It was the shortest route."
CC Sabathia said, "I'm sure it's happened while I'm pitching" and wasn't aware of an unwritten edict. "I've never heard of that," he said. "Maybe it's something new."
He added of Braden: "Tough guy, I guess."
Said Mark Teixeira: "Eight years, I've never heard of that rule. Never heard anyone talk about it, never heard anyone allude to it."
Braden's remarks quickly made the rounds among the team. "We had fun with it," Teixeira said. "Once we heard his comments, we've been laughing about it since."
Girardi called the kerfuffle "boys being boys" and said he considered it a "dead" issue. Braden told New York writers he also considers it over, though in an earlier session with Oakland writers, he said there would be "repercussions" if it happened again.
The Yankees play the A's on July 5-7 in Oakland and Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in New York.
The backing of Rodriguez seemed universal within the Yankees' clubhouse - and the opposite appeared to be the case outside of it.
When asked if it had ever happened to him, former Yankee Jeff Nelson, speaking on MLB Network Radio on Sirius, said, "I probably wouldn't have seen it." He added: "But guys don't like it. It's like their sanctuary, and Dallas Braden, he didn't like it when A-Rod ran across it and he yelled at him, which I like. I like the intensity from Dallas Braden."
Fox analyst Tim McCarver, a former catcher, agreed.
"Absolutely - I love that," McCarver told Foxsports.com. "That's his space. You don't see any starting pitchers in the batter's box, do you? You don't see pitchers go in the batter's box, dig in, anything like that. So why should hitters be allowed on the mound?"
Sabathia was perplexed by Braden calling it "my mound."
"Maybe it's just a home thing," Sabathia said. "If it's in New York, it's not his mound."