More to Pie plunking?

 TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees manager Joe Girardi was clear in
Friday’s postgame talk with reporters that this is the time of year you don’t
want to see guys getting hit.

Unfortunately, it’s become a common occurrence for the
Yankees and Orioles this spring, with Felix Pie’s plunking from Mariano Rivera
Friday afternoon becoming the latest incident between the two clubs.

Pie exited with two outs in the sixth inning after Rivera’s
cutter struck him above the right ankle. The pitch was believed to be
unintentional but, according to Girardi, Rivera heard some off-color comments
from the Orioles dugout as he circled the mound.

“It might have been a response to my frustration the
other day,” Girardi said, alluding to the pitch Jeremy Guthrie hit Mark
Teixeira with during Monday’s  11-7
Yankees win.  

With the bases loaded in the second inning at Ed Smith
Stadium, Guthrie plunked Teixeira on the right elbow with a two-seam fastball.
Teixeira appeared to turn into the pitch as it crossed the plate, being struck
directly on the bone. He was kept out of the lineup Tuesday and Wednesday,
before returning to action Thursday.

Teixeira was also not the only Yankees player to be hit by a
pitch on Monday. Later in the game, Guthrie plunked Francisco Cervelli on the
left hand, prompting an angry outburst from Girardi.

“If you’re having a hard time commanding your fastball
inside, I don’t think it’s the time to be working on it,” Girardi said.
“They might disagree, but this is too valuable a time for guys on their
side, guys on our side. He was struggling with his command [Monday], and I
don’t want to see any of our guys get hurt.”

On Friday, the Yankees skipper came out to check on Rivera
following the pitch. Meanwhile, Pie was ruled to have a lower right leg
contusion and was helped off the field by some of the team’s training staff.
The injury is not expected to be serious, with manager Dave Trembley saying he
would be “very surprised” if the results are anything but negative.

Projected to be the team’s Opening Day left fielder, Pie
entered Friday’s game batting .343 with two homers and four RBIs. He went
0-for-2 in his first two at-bats Friday and was not available after the game
for comment.

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