K-Rod, Bruney trade barbs over antics
Mets closer answers after Yankees reliever offers criticism
NEW YORK -- Some Yankees expressed sympathy for Luis Castillo's sleepless night after a game-ending error on Friday, but Brian Bruney had no problem watching Francisco Rodriguez get stuck with his first blown save as a Met.
Castillo dropped an Alex Rodriguez popup that allowed two runs to score in a 9-8 Yankees victory at Yankee Stadium. After the miscue, K-Rod stood stunned on the mound, his hands covering his cap, and it was an image Bruney didn't mind.
"[It] couldn't have happened to a better guy on the mound, either," Bruney told reporters, according to the Hunterdon County (N.J.) Democrat. "He's got a tired act. ... He gets what he deserves, man. I just don't like watching the guy pitch. I think it's embarrassing."
Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation on Saturday as the Mets evened the series with a 6-2 victory in the Bronx, and afterward, he fired back at the Yankees reliever.
"Instead of sending a message in the paper, next time when he sees me at Citi Field, come up to me and say it," Rodriguez said. "Don't be sending a message to the media. I don't even know who that guy is, somewhere in Double-A and not even pitching one full season.
"He's always been on the DL, that's all I really know right now. He'd better keep his mouth shut and do his job, and not worry about somebody else. If it was somebody big, I might pay attention to it. But somebody like that? It doesn't bother me.
"If somebody comes out with that, somebody big like Mariano [Rivera], somebody who has been around and is good at what he does, I would respect that. But for some guy that I don't even know who it is, that hasn't even played a full year in the big leagues, that's always been hurt? It doesn't bother me."
Bruney said his issue came with Rodriguez's excessive celebration and mound demeanor, which is a familiar topic to the Yankees, who have endured media and fan criticism for similar behavior by Joba Chamberlain.
Bruney made his comments at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J., where he threw a scoreless inning for Double-A Trenton in a rehab appearance against Binghamton. After the Yankees' loss on Saturday, Bruney stood by his earlier comments.
"I stand by what I say," Bruney said. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you I was joking, because I really wasn't. But I'm not going to start a media war with K-Rod. Apparently the guy doesn't know who I am, so it does me no good to talk about him."
Bruney said that his issue with Rodriguez stems from an Aug. 11, 2005, game when K-Rod was pitching for the Angels at Oakland.
Displeased with a close pitch that he did not get from home-plate umpire Mike DiMuro, Rodriguez disgustedly stabbed at a return throw from catcher Jose Molina and missed. Jason Kendall raced home with the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"I learned to play the game a different way, that's all I can say," Bruney said. "You won't see me do that, the way he acts. You won't see that.
"The guy is doing his job, he's had a great career. He set the saves record. It doesn't matter what I think. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that, but again, he doesn't know who I am, so it doesn't matter."
Bruney is on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season with a strained right elbow flexor muscle.
Originally placed on the shelf in late April, Bruney had hurried back, telling the Yankees he felt no pain in a May 17 rehab start with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre even though he did.
After that start, the Yankees expressed disappointment with Bruney, saying that he needed to be more forthcoming. The Yankees could consider activating Bruney from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday, when they open a three-game series against the Nationals.
"I was lying last time, pretty much," Bruney said. "I feel good this time, and I feel good telling you that I feel good."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.