Rafael Soriano finally spoke to the media last night, offering a heartfelt apology for his Tuesday night snub. The act of contrition, however, came hours after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine reached out to his agent, Scott Boras.
"One thing that I got to say to you guys, I'm apologizing," the Yankees' setup man said. "I didn't talk to you guys last night. The reason I do it is because I got mad because CC was supposed to win and it didn't happen. And that's why I get mad."
Soriano blew a four-run lead in the eighth inning of an eventual 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Twins, then promptly ducked out of the clubhouse, leaving pitchers David Robertson and Boone Logan and catcher Russell Martin to explain the loss and Soriano's lack of command.
"Dealing with the press is important and it's an aspect that's important also on behalf of teammates," Cashman said before Wednesday's game against the Twins was rained out. A makeup date was not announced Wednesday night. "There's a lot of little things but they can add up to be a big thing down the line that nobody needs, especially him."
Soriano's diva reputation preceded his arrival in the Bronx, but the Yankees ignored the red flags. The righthander's temper tantrums and disagreements with his former manager in Tampa Bay, Joe Maddon, were as well documented as his American League-leading 45 saves last season. But Cashman, who did not support the organization's signing of Soriano in the offseason, said the reliever's past behavior didn't factor into his decision to contact Boras.
"I'm not going to tell you it's wrong from time to time, if somebody chooses not to," he said. "But for the most part, everybody has to know that it's an important aspect of the job, not just playing on the field, but being accountable in that clubhouse."
The Yankees took a 4-0 lead Tuesday behind seven scoreless innings from CC Sabathia and home runs by Mark Teixeira and Andruw Jones. But Soriano promptly blew the lead in the eighth, surrendering three walks and four runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
Soriano said he felt great and had no explanation for his "balance" being off.
Manager Joe Girardi grew testy during his near 17-minute pregame news conference when pressed about his decision to go with the former closer in the eighth inning.
"Could I have went to someone else? Yeah," Girardi said. "And then if a guy gets on or a couple guys get on, I have to get Soriano on, then I'm asked the question: Why didn't you just have him start the inning? That's the life of a manager and you learn to accept it . . . Lineups in the American League are relentless and four-run leads don't always seem like a whole lot."
Asked if the thought it was acceptable for Soriano to bolt after the game, Girardi said players just "need to blow off a little steam" from time to time.
"It's not a handwritten law or rule that we have," he said. "This guy's been here a week. I think we can be a little patient and we could show a little forgiveness, if that's the word you want to use, for not talking to the media one day."