ANAHEIM, Calif. (WFAN/AP) — Fans in Anaheim didn’t just take in a ballgame Wednesday night. Apparently they also had seats for The Umpire Strikes Back.
Yankees catcher Russell Martin said home plate ump Laz Diaz punished him in an unusual way for arguing balls and strikes. According to Martin, Diaz wouldn’t allow him to throw new baseballs back to his pitchers after fouls during New York’s 6-5 win over the Angels.
“It’s never happened to me before,” said Martin. “He said it’s a privilege that I have to earn for me to throw the ball back.”
Martin and Diaz got into it early in the game, and the fiery catcher said Diaz “was punishing me” by making all of the throws himself. Martin would prefer to make the throws to keep his arm loose for potential base-stealers.
“I even told him, if there’s guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose,” Martin said. “(He) said, ‘No, I’m not letting you throw the ball back.’ I was like, that’s pretty strange to me. … He told me I had to earn the privilege.”
Martin, a three-time All-Star selection and a Gold Glove winner with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007, was mystified by Diaz’s treatment.
“I know he can hold a grudge,” said Martin. “Strange day, but a good win.”
Diaz was unavailable for comment.
“I should have shown him the gold Rawlings sign on my glove,” Martin said, joking maybe that would have earned him the “privilege” of tossing back to the mound.
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