N.Y. says no
When the Mets and Dodgers play a pair of exhibition games in Mexico City this weekend, all eyes will be watching to see if New York retaliates on the heels of the latest Mike Piazza-Guillermo Mota meleé.
The Mets say nothing will happen.
Mota drilled Piazza in the left shoulder on Wednesday, and both benches emptied as Piazza and the Mets chased Mota, who backpedaled himself all the way into the Dodgers' clubhouse. Piazza later entered the Dodgers' clubhouse in an unsuccessful search for Mota.
Mets general manager Steve Phillips, manager Art Howe and David Cone, who will pitch on Saturday, all stress that the Mets will not retaliate against the Dodgers.
"I think we're all aware this is not the place and the time for any kind of retaliation or personal vendetta," Cone said. Then he laughed and said: "They're only a half-hour up the road. We're going to see them again."
Phillips said Howe, his coaching staff and the players had been told they were going to Mexico to play baseball, and there was "no reason to retaliate or take any action."
Howe said he had addressed the team and added, "Nothing is going to happen." But then he paused and said, "At least not intentionally." Then he smiled.
Shawn Green of the Dodgers told a reporter for The Los Angeles Daily News that he would not be shocked if he was hit by a pitch this weekend, and said he would grudgingly accept it. "I don't think I deserve to get hit in that situation, but, if it's going to end this, or whatever, then what am I going to do?" Green told the reporter.
Piazza and Mota have a history as well: Mota hit Piazza with a pitch during spring training last year, with Piazza confronting Mota afterwards by grabbing his shirt near his throat.
Mota did not make the trip to Mexico City for the Dodgers. Piazza will be present for the two games.
Piazza and Mota are likely to be given lengthy suspensions by Major League Baseball. One official who has spoken with Bob Watson, baseball's vice president for discipline, told The New York Times that Watson had yet to announce punishments for the Piazza-Mota incident because he wanted to see the teams' behavior this weekend.
The official told The Times that Piazza and Mota could be suspended for as many as five games in the regular season and fined when Watson issues a ruling early next week. Apparently any chance for leniency for Piazza was ruined when he sought Mota out in the Dodgers' clubhouse.
If Watson announces a suspension next week, Piazza likely will appeal it. The Mets would like to have Piazza, their best player, in the lineup on Opening Day against the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium on March 31.
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