The teams conclude their series Monday night at Yankee Stadium after an eventful and incident-filled weekend that included the news that Clemens would return for a second stint with the Yankees (14-15).
Josh Phelps, who seemed to go out of the way to collide with Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima while sliding to score New York’s first run in the fifth, was hit by the first pitch to him from Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn in the sixth. Umpires then warned both dugouts for the second time in three days, and Proctor and Yankees manager Torre were automatically ejected after the pitch behind Betancourt as a result.
“I was determined to do whatever I had to do to score that run,” Phelps said of the play that sparked Sunday’s tensions. “I had to be aggressive, and that’s what I did. I’m rounding third base and I know (Ichiro Suzuki) can throw with the best in baseball. You don’t have time to think it over. I saw (Johjima) squatting down like he was going to receive the throw. I’m not going to let him just tag me out.”
Phelps appeared to have a clear path to the plate without making contact with the catcher.
“I was kind of surprised because I had the plate open for Phelps to run right through it,” Johjima said through a translator. “Maybe he was a little excited because he had a base hit.”
The incidents led to Proctor being suspended four games, and Torre won’t be on the bench Monday after receiving a one-game ban. Bench coach Don Mattingly will manage in Torre’s absence.
Proctor appealed his suspension, meaning he can pitch until a hearing is held and a ruling issued.
Seattle (13-13) opened the series Friday with a wild 15-11 win in which New York starter Kei Igawa was warned for brushing back Suzuki in the fourth inning, while Jose Guillen was hit by Yankees reliever Mike Myers in the seventh. On Saturday, New York’s Alex Rodriguez was forced to leave after being hit by Sean White in the seventh inning of an 8-1 victory.
Sunday’s skirmish, though, was overshadowed by Clemens’ dramatic announcement during the seventh-inning stretch over a microphone from the owner’s box that he was rejoining the Yankees. The 44-year-old seven-time Cy Young Award winner, who was also considering pitching for Houston and Boston, begins with a minor league contract that will allow him to get in shape. His deal will eventually allow him to earn about $18.5 million.
“I’m about at playing weight right now,” said Clemens, who pitched for New York from 1999-2003. “I feel pretty good.”
Clemens, known for beaning and brushing back batters during his Hall of Fame career, will eventually provide a boost to a Yankees rotation that has been decimated by injuries and ineffectiveness this season.
New York’s starters, however, pitched exceptionally well Saturday and Sunday. Chien-Ming Wang took a perfect game into the eighth inning of Saturday’s victory and rookie Darrell Rasner allowed three hits over 5 2-3 innings the next day for his first win of the season.
Matt DeSalvo will become the 10th starter used by New York this season when he makes his major league debut Monday. DeSalvo went 1-0 with a 1.05 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Scranton this year.
“He’s a very stubborn-type pitcher,” Torre told the team’s official Web site. “He’s a sinker guy who’ll throw either a sinker or changeup that acts funny, but he’s down, down, down. He’s a pretty good bulldog.”
The 26-year-old right-hander wasn’t considered much of a prospect last season, struggling to a 7.68 ERA at Triple-A Columbus and a 5.77 ERA at Double-A Trenton.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is 5-for-7 over his last two games to raise his average to .353, tying him with Rodriguez for the team lead. Rodriguez is 3-for-12 in this series.
Suzuki is slumping for Seattle, going 2-for-22 over the last six games. The center fielder is hitting .188 on the road this season.
Miguel Batista (3-2, 6.30 ERA) seeks to win his third straight outing for Seattle. He’s 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his last two starts after going 1-2 with an 8.83 ERA in his first three outings of the season.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 5.04 ERA in four regular season starts against the Yankees, while posting a 3.65 ERA against them in 12 relief appearances. He also faced New York twice in the 2001 World Series with Arizona, pitching 7 2-3 scoreless innings in a start in Game 5.
Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon has enjoyed plenty of success against Batista, going 12-for-23 (.522) .