Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Civil reunion for Rays, Yankees?

Jonny Gomes is restrained by Rays teammates and umpire Charlie Reliford during a March 12 spring game against the Yankees.


Jonny Gomes is restrained by Rays teammates and umpire Charlie Reliford during a March 12 spring game against the Yankees.

BALTIMORE — The rain that washed out Thursday's game followed the Rays to New York, but whenever they take the field at Yankee Stadium — be it tonight, Saturday afternoon or Sunday — they should get an interesting reception.

Though players and managers on both sides say the incidents of spring training are behind them and they expect no further controversies, they don't speak for the Yankee Stadium fans, who seem likely to have a few things to say, especially to the two Rays cast as villains — Elliot Johnson and Jonny Gomes.

"They're very knowledgeable, very educated and they don't forget," Gomes said. "So I don't know if I'll be wearing my jersey during batting practice. But other than that, you can't hide from them."

Johnson, 24, has never been to New York, much less Yankee Stadium, where he is tentatively scheduled on Saturday to make what will be a most memorable major-league debut as DH.

"From what I've been told, these fans are on top of things, so they'll probably remember me and give me a nice welcoming, I'm sure," he said. "We'll see how it goes."

Veteran reliever Trever Miller said he would be "disappointed" if there wasn't a raucous reception.

"There will be some ire there, some anger," he said. "I think they like to come to the ballpark and take out their frustrations on us, and it just gives them fuel from spring training to go ahead and do that.

"It will be interesting to hear what they have to say. They do their homework. They're very creative. It's a smart town. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be entertaining."

To review, the teams had two spring incidents. On March 8, Johnson crashed into Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and fractured his wrist, drawing criticism from New York manager Joe Girardi and setting off an exchange of words on proper etiquette for exhibition play. Four days later, the Yankees' Shelley Duncan slid hard and spikes high into Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura, setting off a bench-clearing brawl that featured Gomes charging from rightfield at Duncan.

Gomes, Duncan and Melky Cabrera were suspended for their roles in the March 12 incident, but all can play because they appealed and their hearings are Monday.

The teams played two subsequent exhibitions without incident and though there now will be, to borrow a phrase from Duncan, regular-season intensity, neither side expects more trouble.

Certainly not Rays manager Joe Maddon, who said he had a one-on-one "exchange" of thoughts with Duncan near the end of spring, shook hands and considers him a friend. Nor Girardi who, while bringing up yet again that he thought Johnson didn't need to run into Cervelli, said: "I feel it's over" and he expects "a good, clean, hard game."

Johnson said he thought he might get hit in the subsequent spring meeting, but figured the Yankees got their retaliation on Duncan's slide and doesn't expect anything more. "Honestly, I don't think they will, but you never know," he said. "If they do and that's what they want to do, that's baseball." And Gomes said: "If they buzz us, that would be them starting it, and I don't think they want anything to happen more than we do."

But Yankees veteran Jorge Posada didn't seem to rule anything out in talking to New York writers on Thursday.

"We'll see," he said. "We're going to keep playing the game hard, and now we know what to expect from those guys."

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]om.

Civil reunion for Rays, Yankees? 04/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday


    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  3. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  4. Signs point to Jameis Winston dressing vs. Bills


    TAMPA — The Bucs didn't sign another quarterback Wednesday, which would suggest they are confident that Jameis Winston can be active as a backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday at Buffalo if he doesn't start.

  5. FSU doesn't feel need for ongoing reminder of last year's beatdown at Louisville


    Of course Florida State remembers what happened against Louisville last year. The 63-20 loss was one of the worst defeats in Seminoles history.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson looks back at the action from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Murray State, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)