Gossage meets with Yankees' Cashman and Girardi over bat-flip comment

SPOT TO FILL: Marcus Stroman is expected to replace the departed David Price at the top of Toronto’s rotation.
SPOT TO FILL: Marcus Stroman is expected to replace the departed David Price at the top of Toronto’s rotation.
Published March 12, 2016

TAMPA — Hall of Fame reliever Goose Gossage met with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi one day after criticizing Blue Jays star Jose Bautista and Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes for postseason home run celebrations.

Gossage, 64, a Yankees spring training guest instructor, said Friday that everything is good between him and the team, but doesn't regret his comments.

"I was passed the torch, a certain way to act. Flipping the bat is not part of it,'' he said. "All the things that I said, Bautista just came into mind. I was asked a question, and got it off my chest. Hopefully, they think about it.

"Nobody else is going to tell them not to do it. None of their teammates. Act like (Derek) Jeter, act like Mo (Mariano Rivera). Act like a professional. That's all."

Gossage called Bautista a "disgrace to the game" during a profanity-laced interview in Tampa on Thursday.

He said Friday: "I just kind of lost my mind there for a minute. You're talking to an old-school guy, man. And there are things I have a hard time with."

Gossage also said Thursday that baseball is becoming a joke because of the nerds running it.

"(Cashman and Girardi) expressed where they were coming from with the analytics," Gossage said. "I understood some things where they were coming from, and it was a good meeting."

Girardi said he and Cashman pointed out to Gossage that the game has changed, with bat flips commonplace. "It's been going on for a while," Girardi said. "It's not something that I would encourage for anyone to do. It's not something that I ever did. I think emotion is good in the game, as long as you're not intentionally showing someone up."

Blue Jays: Stroman strong

DUNEDIN — Marcus Stroman, expected to fill the void atop the rotation after the offseason departure of David Price, allowed three hits in 42/3 innings and the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 2-1 in 10 innings. He struck out four on 55 pitches.

"I want to go as deep as I can each and every game," Stroman said. "I'm looking to go nine a lot this year, and anything I can to keep that efficiency up and to keep my pitch count low, I'm going to do."

CHOATE JOINS JAYS: LHP Randy Choate, 40, agreed to a minor-league contract with Toronto and will report to big-league spring training. Among his past teams are the Rays (2009-10) and Yankees (2000-03). If added to the 40-man roster, he would get a $1 million salary while in the major leagues and $105,000 in the minors.

Phillies: 1B Howard returns

KISSIMMEE — 1B Ryan Howard, playing for the first time in a week after getting over an illness, had a two-run double and played the whole game, going 1-for-4 with a walk, in the Phillies' 9-2 victory over a Braves split squad.

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Manager Pate Mackanin was impressed: "He looked good. Unless he's tired (today), I'd like to play him again."

RHP Charlie Morton was scratched from his start after coming down with the illness that has swept the clubhouse.