Players, coaches ejected in bench clearer

March 12, 2008 12:49:08 PM PDT
Both benches cleared during the second inning of a spring training game between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, leading to the ejections of two players and two coaches. The teams, meeting four days after Yankees manager Joe Girardi complained about Tampa Bay's aggressive play after a home-plate collision that injured catcher Francisco Cervellio, had been warned before the game that the umpires would have little tolerance for any further problems.

The benches cleared after New York's Shelley Duncan slid into Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura with the spikes raised after singling off third baseman Evan Longoria's glove and trying to stretch the hit into a double.

Duncan was immediately tossed. Tampa Bay's Jonny Gomes was ejected, too, after racing in from right field and barreling into Duncan as other players poured onto the field. No punches appeared to have been thrown as order was restored.

Yankee third base coach Bobby Meacham and hitting coach Kevin Long also were ejected by the umpiring crew, which met with Girardi and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon before the game.

New York left-hander Heath Phillips was ejected during the first inning after one of his pitches appeared to graze Longoria's shirt. The Rays had already scored two runs and three hits in the inning.

Girardi protested Phillips' ejection and both benches were warned.

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