Piniella warns Yankees that retaliation will continue
By KIRBY ARNOLD
SEATTLE — The chin music started in the first inning Saturday, it continued throughout the game and it might not end until today.
New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens buzzed Seattle Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez twice in his first at-bat, knocking him down once and starting a game-long duel of high-inside pitches that M’s manager Lou Piniella vows will not be forgotten.
In the next inning after Rodriguez went down, Mariners pitcher Paul Abbott put Yankees catcher Jorge Posada on his backside. In the bottom of the third, Clemens whistled one past David Bell’s chin.
And in the ninth, Mariners reliever Jose Paniagua sent New York’s Luis Sojo flying out of the batter’s box with a fastball over his head.
The Mariners are adamant that Clemens started it.
"That’s Roger," center fielder Mike Cameron said. "He wanted to get command of the plate, and that’s how he delivers his message. He sure didn’t have any control problems the rest of the night."
After Abbott decked Posada, TV cameras caught Piniella screaming toward the Yankee dugout.
"They were looking at our dugout like we did something wrong," Piniella said. "I was just trying to let them know that we’re going to protect our hitters, period."
And don’t be surprised if it carries over to today’s game.
"If he wants his hitters to get thrown at, that’s fine with me," Piniella said of Yankees manager Joe Torre. "That’s exactly what will happen. That’s exactly what happened tonight and that will be exactly what happens the next time he faces our ballclub. He wants to throw at our guys, we’ll throw at his guys. Period."
Clemens wouldn’t answer Piniella’s accusations, saying, "I have no comment on that. I was trying to work A-Rod inside."
Torre defended his pitcher.
"He throws hard. You have to pitch in to be effective," Torre said. "He’s not trying to hit anybody. If he is, it surprises me."
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