Punches thrown in Jays-Yanks fracas
Incident sparked by Carlson throwing behind Posada
NEW YORK -- It was nothing short of a minor miracle that, after the September-expanded rosters of the Yankees and Blue Jays clashed on the field in a benches-clearing fracas during Tuesday's 10-4 Toronto win, there were no major injuries to report.
That was the saving grace of an ugly incident at Yankee Stadium that was sparked by New York's Jorge Posada throwing an elbow at Toronto's Jesse Carlson, leading to ejections and likely disciplinary action for both players.
"It was really something that shouldn't happen -- we got carried away," Posada said. "I don't want my kids to see that. Hopefully they won't. ... Benches clearing, fighting in the middle of the field. It's not a good example.
"Somebody could have gotten hurt. That's the thing. I'm glad that no one did."
The benches cleared for a second time in the eighth inning of the Blue Jays' victory, as Posada came home on a Brett Gardner double and made contact with Carlson, who had been backing up the play behind home plate.
Carlson turned and barked at Posada, who charged back at the pitcher and sparked a large pile of shoving players on the grass in the general area of home plate.
"I was kind of just looking up, upset about the pitch, and when he came by, he just threw a shoulder right into my shoulder," Carlson said. "The umpire saw it. During the at-bat, as well, every pitch he was fouling off, he kept staring at me and staring at me.
"Then, after he did that, crossing the plate, it was a heat-of-the-moment thing. Once he went across the plate and threw that elbow at me or whatever, I was like, 'Let's go.'"
Home-plate umpire Jim Joyce said that his crew would review the tape for further reports, but clearly did not view Posada's actions in glowing terms.
"As he ran past Carlson, he gave him a little shove with his elbow," Joyce said. "It was very unsportsmanlike. The pitcher wasn't looking for anything like that and he ran past him, didn't say anything and just gave him a shove with his elbow. It was a cheap shot."
Catcher Rod Barajas was dragged by his chest protector at one point during the scuffle, involved with New York's Edwar Ramirez. Barajas said that he hadn't seen his assailant, though he said he had been choked briefly. But he saw what triggered the incident.
"Jesse was backing up home, doing what he's supposed to be doing, and he had his back to Posada," Barajas said. "As Posada walked by, he threw an elbow at him. There was intent. It wasn't like Jesse was in the way and he was trying to avoid him. He saw Jesse. He saw where he was, and on the way by, he threw an elbow. That's what triggered the whole situation."
The ensuing melee left Carlson sporting a large welt on the left side of his forehead. Toronto's John McDonald said that he did not hit Yankees manager Joe Girardi, but someone did; playing peacemaker in front of the first-base dugout, Girardi was clipped on the left eye and cut his left ear.
"I don't think anyone was trying to hit me," Girardi said. "I think they were trying to break up the whole thing. It's an unfortunate incident. Obviously, the league is going to look at it. You hope no one got hurt and no one gets suspended. You move on."
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said that he also was hoping no one would be injured.
"It's unfortunate something like that happened," Gaston said. "You worry about guys getting stepped on or guys getting their fingers broken, arms broken ... things like that. That's the first thing you worry about. You don't want guys to get hurt out there."
Earlier in the inning, both benches briefly cleared as Carlson threw behind Posada as apparent retaliation for earlier hit batters.
"It was a fastball in and I yanked it," Carlson said. "Bad pitch."
The pitch sailed to the backstop well behind Posada, who glared at Carlson and repeated, "Don't do that. Don't do that," as players on both benches moved toward home plate. The bullpen doors swung open, though no reliever made it farther than center field.
Order was quickly restored and no contact appeared to be made between players as Joyce warned both Girardi and Gaston. Posada continued his at-bat by working a walk.
"I thought it was over," Girardi said. "I thought Jim Joyce did a good job of handling it. He gave both clubs a warning and nobody was hurt. I was hoping it was over. Unfortunately it wasn't."
Two Jays batters had been hit earlier in the game by Yankees pitchers. Edwin Encarnacion was drilled on the left shoulder by Sergio Mitre in the sixth inning, and Aaron Hill was plunked in the back by Mark Melancon in the eighth.
Melancon said that the pitch was a two-seamer that got away, and Joyce agreed, saying that "he did not throw at Hill at all in my opinion." But the Blue Jays still weren't so certain.
"We don't know for sure if there was intent or not," Barajas said. "But, when you've got two outs and one of the best hitters on your team is up and he gets drilled square in the back, it doesn't look good. I'm not saying they did it on purpose or if there was any intent. Obviously, you see that happen and it kind of makes you wonder."
Girardi said that he addressed his club after the game and was not pleased that the events had escalated so quickly.
"This is not what we want -- it's not what they want," Girardi said. "Unfortunately it's what we got."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.