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Tampa Bay Rays adviser Don Zimmer disputes Pedro Martinez's account of 2003 ALCS incident

NEW YORK — Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer said Pedro Martinez is the one who is wrong this time, disputing the version Martinez shared Wednesday of their 2003 ALCS Fenway Park throwdown.

The Phillies' Game 2 starter said when Zimmer, then a Yankees coach, charged at him, he expected a lecture. Instead, Martinez, saying this is the first time he has discussed what really happened, claimed the then 72-year-old "was trying to punch my mouth and told me a couple of bad words about my mom."

Speaking from his Seminole home, Zimmer said that was definitely not the case.

"Pedro is full of crap," Zimmer said, adding he was trying to take down Martinez, then a Red Sox star, by putting his head in his chest and Martinez grabbed his neck. "It's what, six years later? If Pedro wants to be a big man, I don't care what he says."

The day after the incident, Zimmer apologized, saying he was wrong. Wednesday, Martinez said he didn't because he "didn't feel like I did anything to apologize (for)" but also didn't condone what happened.

Martinez had plenty more to say about his relationship with Yankees fans, claiming he "might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium," and has grown to understand their passion.

"Sometimes, they might be giving you the middle finger just like they will be cursing you and telling you what color underwear you're wearing," he said. "But at the end of the day, they're just great fans that want to see the team win."

As for the "Who's your daddy," chants he likely will hear tonight?

"It really reminds me that God is my daddy. It gives me strength," Martinez said. "When you have 60,000 people chanting your name … you have to consider yourself someone special."

ONE EX-RAY IN, ONE OUT: Former Ray Eric Hinske, with the Red Sox in 2007, was added to the Yankees roster with RHP Brian Bruney. Only he and Don Baylor have appeared in three consecutive Series for different teams. OF Freddy Guzman, and C Francisco Cervelli were dropped.

The Phillies dropped ex-Ray INF Miguel Cairo so they could add a reliever, RHP Brett Myers.

PITCHING IN: Both managers remained coy after the game about their plans for Game 4 starters, with both Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia possibly brought back on three days rest. … The Lee-Sabathia matchup was the second of two Cy Young winners in an opener; Atlanta's Greg Maddux and Cleveland's Orel Hershiser in 1995.

MISCELLANY: The Oct. 28 start was the latest in Series history; first-pitch temperature was 52 with intermittent rain. ... Chase Utley is the first lefty to hit two homers off lefties in a Series game since Babe Ruth in 1928. ... The scoreboard flashed "Win it for The Boss," referencing George Steinbrenner. …The Yankees have lost their last four Series gaames; their run snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak.

Tampa Bay Rays adviser Don Zimmer disputes Pedro Martinez's account of 2003 ALCS incident 10/28/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 30, 2009 1:59pm]
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