Benches clear in Yanks-O's opener
Hawkins ejected after nearly hitting Scott in sixth inning
NEW YORK -- Yankees right-hander LaTroy Hawkins expects to be disciplined after being ejected from Tuesday's game, throwing a pitch high and inside to Orioles outfielder Luke Scott and setting off a benches-clearing incident at Yankee Stadium.
Pitching in the sixth inning, Hawkins threw a 1-0 fastball high and tight, forcing Scott to duck backward. Home-plate umpire Chuck Meriwether immediately ejected Hawkins, then intercepted Scott as he walked toward the mound clutching his bat, shouting at Hawkins and pointing to his helmet.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter had been hit on the left hand by Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera in the third inning, and Hawkins' first pitch to Scott zipped well inside away from the plate. Asked later if he believed there was intent, Scott said, "Of course there was."
"I understand there's certain things that happen in this game," Scott said. "You want to protect your players, and there's a certain way to go about it. That was not it. You never throw at someone's head with intention. You can end someone's life. You can end a career.
"No one likes going through difficult moments like that, ugly moments in the game. But you've got to stick up for yourself. If you get hit in the leg or hit on the back or your rear, you understand what's going on. You realize they're protecting one of their star players. That's the game. It [stinks] if it happens to you, but you take your base and you move on."
Both benches and bullpens spilled onto the infield during the lopsided game, which Baltimore led by 10 runs at the time of the incident and finished as a 12-2 victory. Hawkins said that he was not intentionally throwing at Scott.
"If anybody knows me, and a lot of guys around this league know me, I'm not that type of person," Hawkins said. "He thought what he wanted to think. The way it looked, he had a reason to think like that. But it wasn't intentional."
Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff, who led off the fifth against Hawkins and popped out to second base, said he also believed Hawkins had tried to hit him.
"I knew he was throwing at me," Huff said. "But after you miss me and you miss Luke the first time, you only get so many chances to hit someone. I understand that Jeter was hit and he came out of the game. But that wasn't intentional. [Cabrera] pitches inside and [Jeter] dives a little bit. That's all part of baseball."
Hawkins said that he expects to be disciplined after watching the case of teammate Kyle Farnsworth, who threw a fastball over the head of Boston's Manny Ramirez on April 15 and was suspended. Farnsworth was fined $2,000 and suspended for three games, but had his punishment reduced to one game upon appeal.
"You saw what happened to Farnsie, so you know it's coming," Hawkins said. "It's another situation where somebody on our team got hit and nobody else got hit. I will be appealing, even though I haven't been suspended yet."
Jeter was hit with two outs in the third inning and was forced to leave the game with what was later diagnosed as a contusion, after X-rays were negative.
"You have to pitch inside or you're going to get killed in this league," Hawkins said. "When 'Jete' got hit, nobody else got hit. That's the bottom line. Jeter got hit and nobody else got hit."
Not surprisingly, the managers disagreed on Hawkins' intent. Yankees manager Joe Girardi rushed out of the dugout to defend Hawkins, but Meriwether had already dispatched the hurler before Girardi could reach home plate.
"He was pitching inside all night," Girardi said. "I don't think LaTroy was trying to hit anyone, in my eyes. I was sitting there talking to [bench coach] Rob Thomson saying, 'I think we can get another inning out of him.'"
Orioles skipper Dave Trembley scoffed when asked by reporters if Hawkins had tried to hit Scott.
"You'll have to ask the guy who threw it," Trembley said. "You guys have been doing this a long time. You're trying to get me to say something that's fairly obvious. I didn't just fall out of a truck. Come on."
The Yankees and Orioles play two more games in this three-game series and also meet in Baltimore for a three-game set beginning May 26. Trembley said that the incident would die after Tuesday's game.
"There is no reason for us to retaliate in any way, shape or form," Trembley said. "That's not how we play baseball. It's totally inappropriate. That's for headlines and gossip columnists. We don't play that way. Sometimes things happen that are inappropriate. People make mistakes and you move on."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.