ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley says he ”wasn’t thrilled” by Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon’s word choice.
Maddon talked about a pitch by Rays reliever Jake McGee that bloodied Headley’s jaw last week and said it ”grazed” him.
”I was pretty lucky the way that it turned out,” Headley said before Wednesday night’s game against the Rays. ”I can tell you what the doctor said and what I went through. (The doctor) said it was a miracle that my jaw didn’t shatter.”
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Maddon made the comment after the Rays beat New York 6-1 Tuesday night, a game in which Derek Jeter became the fifth Yankees player hit by a Rays pitcher in the past week.
After hearing Headley’s comments, Maddon said: ”It’s all about semantics.”
”The whole world is about how you choose your words, the meanings of the words, etc. If he’s offended by the word `grazed,’ I apologize for that. I didn’t mean any lack-of-respectful way,” he said. ”My point was I was happy he wasn’t hit more squarely and hurt on a more permanent basis.”
Maddon added that ”hit in the chin” would have a better choice of words.
Headley still has black-and-blue areas on his neck from the draining blood.
”I’ve got a lot of color, only some of which you can see,” Headley said. ”This is not a pity party. I’m not looking for an apology, that’s not it. It’s more than a graze.”
”I don’t need him to explain himself,” Headley said. ”You can watch the video and make your own adjective. It could be construed as minimalizing what happened. If Evan Longoria got hit like that, or Ben Zobrist or one of their guys, he wouldn’t have said it.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi feels Maddon didn’t realize how hard Headley was hit.
”I think that he misunderstood because of Chase’s toughness,” Girardi said.