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Tampa Bay Rays annoy New York Yankees over makeup game for Friday's rainout

NEW YORK — Rain washed out Friday's game and reduced Derek Jeter's chances of getting the final two hits he needs for 3,000 at Yankee Stadium. But the Rays were being cast as the villains for refusing to go along with the Yankees' plans to make it up with a split doubleheader today.

"We voted to play. They voted not to play. Not sure why," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Then you've just got to move forward, so we're going to play later on."

The game instead will be made up Sept. 22, a mutual off day after what was to be a two-game series in New York. The Rays wanted to wait until they were healthier and had the benefit of an expanded roster.

The bottom line difference is Jeter now has two games, rather than three, to get the final two hits he needs at home. The Yankees open post-All-Star play with an eight-game road trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay.

The decision to not play Friday became obvious by late afternoon at the start of what became lengthy rain. But deciding when to play took hours of back-and-forth among the teams, players union and Major League Baseball officials and might have added another chapter to the occasionally contentious relationship between the organizations, which includes a 2008 spring training brawl and the Rays having to travel to New York in 2004 despite a hurricane-related storm.

"Whether I'm frustrated or not doesn't really matter," Girardi said. "We wanted to see this happen for our fans. We thought that was important. But it's not. So let's get the hits in the next couple of days. That's all."

"There's nothing you can do about it," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "(The Rays') position is their position, for whatever reason. That's their right."

Under baseball's convoluted rescheduling procedures, the teams had to agree on the date to play a day-night doubleheader because both had reached the limit of having two scheduled. So though the Yankees voted to play two today, the Rays were essentially able to block it by voting no.

"I don't think there's really a winner," Rays player rep Evan Longoria said. "The initial thought was they wanted to play a doubleheader (today). I think we all know the reason why they'd like to get these three games in. Obviously, they're rooting for Derek to get his 3,000th here in this series, and we'd like to see it, too. He has two more games to do it.

"But just looking forward as far as both teams go, it's not real smart for us to play a doubleheader."

The Yankees, despite having third baseman Alex Rodriguez and rightfielder Nick Swisher sidelined by injuries and closer Mariano Rivera questionable, believed it was.

Cashman insisted that was the best decision for the team and not just because of Jeter. But Girardi acknowledged they wanted Jeter to have an additional opportunity to reach 3,000 hits at home.

"That's important," he said. "It's important to our fans. People have made a lot of arrangements to try and see this happen on the day that they picked. It's unfortunate that we lose a game here. … It's important to our fans because of what our fans have meant to our organization."

The Yankees could have unilaterally scheduled a straight doubleheader with the games played one after another before the same crowd. But Cashman said they had no interest in essentially giving up a home date and the revenue generated.

The Rays were willing to play a split doubleheader in September, which seemed to further rankle the Yankees.

"My understanding is they were willing to do a split later in the year but not necessarily (today) for some reason," Cashman said. "I can't speak for them why (today) was a problem. But it was, so they voted it down."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said it was simply a matter of health — designated hitter Johnny Damon is out, Longoria is bothered by a sore foot, and the bullpen weary — even though they have four days off starting Monday.

"I just think at this point of the first half (of the season), guys are a little bit run down," he said. "Where we're at physically right now, I would prefer not (to play a doubleheader today)."

Longoria said the Rays felt for Jeter but didn't necessarily feel bad about their decision.

"He's going to get it," Longoria said. "Would we like to see it? Yeah. Do we root for him to get it at home? Yeah. But as far as feeling bad, I mean, it's a tough question to answer."

Tampa Bay Rays annoy New York Yankees over makeup game for Friday's rainout 07/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 9, 2011 12:11am]

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