Lou, Pete Rose on Rays' side
Piniella weighed in on the flap between two of his former teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees, over Rays prospect Elliot Johnson breaking Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli's right wrist on a home-plate collision.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the play was excessive for spring training, but Piniella disagreed.
''How do you tell a player to not play hard?'' Piniella said. ''I can see his viewpoint, but it's part of the game.
''Hard, fair play is part of the game, whether it's in spring training or part of the season.
''These kids are trying to make the team just like everybody else. I'm sure there was no intent to hurt anybody. It just so happened there was an injury.''
And so did Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who a) was famous for his ability to block the plate, and b) if Maddon's former boss, in this from the Orange County Register:
It happened in a spring training game, in the ninth inning, involving the faceless Tampa Bay Rays.
Yet there was plenty of relevance Saturday when base runner Elliott Johnson plowed into New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, breaking the prospect's right wrist.
Rays manager and long-time Angels coach Joe Maddon called the play "hardball." His counterpart, Joe Girardi, went with "uncalled for."
Scioscia, who as a player was once famously knocked loopy at the plate by Jack Clark, not surprisingly sided with his former lieutenant.
"A baseball game is a baseball game," he said. "Nobody wants to see someone get hurt, but that's the nature of sports at times."
Scioscia also said there's a greater chance of injury by going the opposite direction, by playing less than 100 percent.
Just before the start of the 1986 season, Scioscia's Dodgers teammate Pedro Guerrero ruptured his patella tendon easing into a slide during an exhibition game.
"You're much less likely to get hurt playing aggressively as opposed to trying to put a governor on it," Scioscia said. "You're not minimizing the risk when you lighten up effort."