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Gibbons says he 'overreacted' in tangle with Lilly

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he overreacted Monday night when he tangled with Toronto pitcher Ted Lilly near the dugout.

"I overreacted, no question about that," Gibbons said Tuesday during his weekly radio appearance on The Fan 590.

"That's not who I am. But I am a passionate guy," Gibbons said. "It should never get to that point, but it did happen. I can't run from that, I can't make excuses. I've got to live with it now."

Gibbons and Lilly exchanged words on the mound during a pitching change in the third inning of the Oakland Athletics' 12-10 victory Monday night.

Given an 8-0 lead, Lilly was removed after allowing five runs in the third. Gibbons chewed out his pitcher, who refused to give him the ball.

When Lilly left the mound for the clubhouse, Gibbons followed him. A team trainer and several players ran down the stairs. Cameramen near the dugout saw Gibbons push Lilly first.

"I overreacted. I wasn't proud about it," Gibbons said.

Gibbons and Lilly said no punches were thrown, though the trainer was shown on camera tending to Gibbons' nose in the dugout. A camera on the Oakland broadcast showed there was blood.

Gibbons joked the trainer was just wiping "crusty chew" off -- a reference to chewing tobacco.

Canadian Press photographer Aaron Harris, one of a handful of photographers to witness the skirmish, said Lilly was waiting for Gibbons in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse.

"Gibbons just went at him," Harris said. "It looked like Gibbons grabbed him and they disappeared. Then the whole dugout emptied back there. It was mayhem down in the tunnel."

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi thinks Gibbons made a mistake in confronting Lilly.

"In hindsight he probably should have just went to the corner of the bench. I think he knows that too," Ricciardi said Tuesday.

Lilly confirmed that the situation escalated quickly.

"We were on the verge of something regrettable happening. We were yelling at each other face to face," he said.

Interviewed after the game, Gibbons declined to give details of the incident but said, "We've hashed all that out."

"He thought he should have been left in the game," Gibbons said of Lilly. "I didn't think so."

Lilly said that his manager was not happy with how he was throwing.

"At a time I was already upset with myself, I didn't handle it well at the time," Lilly said. "It wasn't very good, but this thing could have gone over a little better if I would have held my emotions."

In July, Gibbons challenged Shea Hillenbrand to a fight after the infielder wrote on the clubhouse bulletin board that the "ship is sinking." Hillenbrand declined to fight and was later traded to San Francisco.

Ricciardi said Gibbons' job was more secure than ever after the Hillenbrand confrontation. Asked if that is still the case, Ricciardi said it is.

Ricciardi, Lilly and Gibbons met after Monday night's game.

"Gibby is a good manager," Ricciardi said. "It's just an unfortunate incident. He went all last year and didn't have one incident. He took over the club in August the year before and didn't have one incident. It's just one of those years that a couple of things went wrong. But you take the situation and see who was involved with those incidents."

Team president Paul Godfrey didn't think Gibbons or Lilly needed discipline.

"My opinion is that it's a one-night skirmish," Godfrey said. "I don't see any need for discipline. Ted and the manager worked it out between them."

Ricciardi said the Hillenbrand and Lilly incidents are different because Hillenbrand didn't want to be in Toronto. He called the Lilly skirmish a heated moment sparked by a pitcher who didn't want to be taken out.

Ricciardi said there would be no fine or suspension levied on Lilly, who is eligible for free agency after the season

"Your reputation is always at stake, but I know who I am and I just try to do the right things," Gibbons said. "I've always tried to live by that. There's enough people out there who know who I am."

Toronto catcher Bengie Molina said it's going to be hard for the team to put it behind them.

"This can be a big distraction for any team. Hopefully, it doesn't get to us," Molina said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.