Tampa Bay Rays' Sean Rodriguez says Dane De La Rosa sparked hand-breaking punch

Published Sept. 6, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG — INF Sean Rodriguez admitted that the frustration that led him to breaking his right hand at Triple-A Durham was the result of what he considered disrespectful actions by RHP Dane De La Rosa.

The two are again teammates with the Rays, with De La Rosa called up Wednesday. Rodriguez said there "definitely" are still issues, but he will be professional about it and not create any disturbances in the clubhouse.

"I'm trying to avoid him as much as possible," he said.

Rodriguez would not get into specifics over what led him to punch a locker after the Aug. 26 game, except to say it was how De La Rosa reacted when Rodriguez said something about the song that was being played in the (winning) clubhouse.

"How do you disrespect somebody without touching them? You say things or talk in a manner that's very disrespectful," Rodriguez said. "In a baseball clubhouse people do that all the time. But when you turn to ask somebody, 'Are you being serious right now?' the way someone's tone is, the way they're talking to you and they either just smirk or ignore you leads you to believe one or the other, right?

"So instead of me normally doing what I normally would have done in the past, which is basically just to go and do a lot of things to him, I tried to exert my energy and frustration elsewhere to try to let it go. Bad job of trying to deal with it."

Rodriguez, who hopes to return from the disabled list when eligible Sept. 15 at least to pinch-run and play defense, admitted it was an act of "stupidity" on his part to hurt himself and the team.

De La Rosa said the situation could be "interpreted in a lot of different ways" but declined to be specific.

"One of my biggest things is being good to teammates and being good to coaches," he said. "Obviously I didn't really mean to offend anybody. What happened is what happened. We haven't talked. Just getting up here, I just want to feel things out first, then definitely talk to Joe (Maddon) and clear things up. That's pretty much all I'll say for now."

NIEMANN UPDATE: RHP Jeff Niemann got good news on his visit to Dr. James Andrews: that the issue in his right shoulder is no more than the inflammation in the rotator cuff that was diagnosed. Also, that he might be able to resume throwing in a couple of weeks, meaning the injury may not be season-ending. "I don't know that, but it may not be," Maddon said."

SOME R&R: CF B.J. Upton was out of the lineup so he'd benefit from two-plus days of rest as the Rays are off today, though he pinch-hit in the eighth and struck out. INF Ryan Roberts was also off. … Evan Longoria, who said his legs felt tired Monday, needed one more day at DH, Maddon said, and should return to third base over the weekend.

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MINOR MATTERS: Class A Bowling Green opened best-of-three Midwest League playoff action by losing 5-4 to Lake County (Indians). … Double-A Montgomery opens best-of-five Southern League play tonight at Mobile (D'backs). Manager Billy Gardner Jr. was named league manager of the year. His father won it in 1973 with Jacksonville … Rookie-level Princeton manager Michael Johns has joined the coaching staff to lend an extra hand, as will Durham manager Charlie Montoyo.

MISCELLANY: The Rays lost for an MLB record-tying third time this season when their pitchers struck out at least 15; it was only the third time in franchise history the Yankees won with 15 Ks. … Shannon Magrane, American Idol finalist and daughter of former TV analyst Joe, will open Sunday's postgame Coco Jones concert.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.