Yankees catcher Russell Martin lashed out at home plate umpire Laz Diaz after last night’s 6-5 victory over the Angels. After the two had earlier argued over balls and strikes, Martin said the umpire refused to let him throw the ball back to his own pitchers whenever a new ball was put into play.
“He told me I had to earn the privilege,” said Martin, a seven-year veteran, three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner. “Even at the end of the game after I get hit in the neck. I’m like, can I throw the ball back now? He’s still like no. I’m like you’re such a (expletive). Like for real. Unbelievable. I even told him like when there’s guys on base, I like to keep my arm loose. No. I’m not letting you throw a ball back. That’s pretty strange to me.”
When informed that his choice of words wasn’t printable, Martin said “I wish it was.”
Then, he helped come up with suitable alternatives before leaving the clubhouse.
Diaz was not available for comment.
“That was strange,” Martin said. “I was kind of mystified. I really didn’t get that. He was punishing me.”
Typically, Martin said umpires grant his request to throw the ball back to his pitcher, which he likes to do just to keep his arm loose during games. Even after arguments, he said no umpire had ever denied him the request until last night, when Diaz told him he hadn’t earned the right.
“Now, thinking back, I should have shown him the gold Rawlings sign on my glove,” Martin said.
Though Martin bit his tongue and didn’t call Diaz any names on the field, the catcher said he took the umpire’s actions as an attempt to goad him into an ejection.
Martin wants to keep his arm loose? That’s weak. A catcher makes 12 to 40 throws back to the pitcher per inning. Not being able to throw the ball back to the mound when a new one comes into play is not going to make the difference between staying loose or not. On the flip side, Diaz is being a hump by insisting that he throws the ball to the pitcher. What’s the need for that? Outside of vanity, I can’t think of any reason why the ump needs to make a throw. It’s not like he’s saving the ball from being doctored or something.
This whole thing is a couple of guys acting like babies. Grow up guys…geesh.