Yankees get blown out by Angels

September 9, 2008 5:02:52 AM PDT
Yankees catcher Ivan Rodriguez took an openhanded swing at Torii Hunter after getting shoved in the back by the Angels star, and both players were ejected following a bench-clearing scuffle between the teams Monday night. Moments later, after the game resumed, New York pitching coach Dave Eiland passed out in the dugout, manager Joe Girardi said.

Eiland was helped to his feet by teammates and escorted by a trainer up the runway toward the clubhouse.

"He's been fighting a cold, and he worked out hard this morning. I think the last time he ate was 1 o'clock," Girardi said after New York's 12-1 loss. "He took some medicine during the game and got lightheaded and dizzy, and passed out. But he's OK now. I just told him to eat."

Rodriguez and Hunter, friendly off the field, apologized to each other during the game.

The 42-year-old Eiland was in the middle of the tussle as players pushed and shoved each other near home plate. Replays showed someone's hand scraping across Eiland's face, but the coach did not appear to get knocked down.

Eiland left the game after feeling dizzy and losing his balance in the dugout. He was examined by a doctor and later felt fine, a Yankees spokesman said.

The dustup began after Hunter got hung up between third and home on Mike Napoli's grounder to third base in the sixth inning. Hunter came in standing up and bumped into Rodriguez, who tagged him out.

Rodriguez appeared to nudge Hunter with his left elbow after the tag, then walked toward the mound. Hunter turned, took a few steps and pushed Rodriguez in the back - hard. The catcher whipped off his mask and charged at Hunter, but was restrained by plate umpire Ted Barrett while missing on a wild swing.

"It happened so fast," Hunter said. "I don't know if Pudge thought I pushed him. He pushed me. It just got frustrating."

Rodriguez and Hunter met during the game to clear the air.

"Torii is a nice guy. We apologized to each other," Rodriguez said. "He's a very professional player and so am I. I've been in baseball for 18 years and I've never started a fight. I compete and I compete hard. And sometimes when you compete hard, things like that happen."

Hunter said he regretted losing his temper.

"You don't want to promote violence," he said. "I want to apologize to the fans for my temper flaring."

Both benches cleared, with players milling in a mass at the plate. Relievers came running from the bullpen onto the field as order was restored. Angels manager Mike Scioscia led a shouting Hunter away, while fans chanted angry words at the Yankees.

No other punches appeared to be thrown.

"It's not something that you want to see happen, but it's emotion. Pudge was showing emotion, and I'm OK with that," Girardi said. "I like the fight in our players. I like players showing emotion. I don't have a problem with that."

Standing in the dugout, Hunter pointed his finger in Rodriguez's direction as the catcher waited near the mound while the umpires sorted things out. Both players were ejected, the first time this season for Hunter and Rodriguez's first with the Yankees.

Before the dustup, Hunter stole second base - without a throw - and then third as well.

"It was 6-1 when that happened, but that's why that team is in first place, because they run all the time and play the game hard," Rodriguez said.