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Friday, June 27
Updated: June 28, 4:40 PM ET
Grieve says manager misunderstood him

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ben Grieve wants everyone to know he cares, even if his body language doesn't always show it.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder defended himself Friday, one day after manager Lou Piniella scolded him in the dugout after the easygoing Grieve took a called third strike to end a one-run loss to the New York Yankees.

Piniella said he reacted to Grieve saying "it doesn't matter'' when the manager asked him why he hadn't argued to umpire Wally Bell that the pitch was high. The confrontation was caught by television cameras and broadcast nationwide.

Grieve said Friday that he never said "it doesn't matter,'' but rather that he told Piniella the umpire "doesn't care.''

"Those words didn't come out of my mouth,'' said Grieve, who was in the lineup Friday night against the Atlanta Braves, batting eighth.

"The thing he asked me was: 'Was it a strike?' At that point, I was trying to think of something to say. I said it was high. He said: `Why didn't you argue?' I said the ump, he doesn't care.''

Grieve left the ballpark Thursday before Piniella spoke with reporters. Grieve said he was surprised when he turned on the television and heard the manager's side of the story.

"It's kind of embarrassing to see it on TV like that. The thing I want to say, though, is I don't show emotion and all that. It's always been talked about. It's hard for people to see that when you don't go out and throw your helmet and stuff. ... I wasn't happy last night. I care,'' Grieve said.

"The way I carry myself, something like that happens, I probably react the exact opposite of how some other person would. That's how I deal with stuff. That's the way I've always been. It looks bad. I wish I wasn't like that so it would be a lot easier. But that's not how I am.''

Piniella said before Friday night's game that he hadn't spoken with Grieve, who was batting .234 and mired in a 2-for-25 slump.

"Don't really need to. ... As far as I'm concerned, it's over,'' Piniella said.

Asked if he might have misunderstood Grieve, the manager didn't back off.

"I don't know,'' Piniella said. "All I know, I was told what I said.''

Grieve, who's in the final year of a contract that pays him $5.5 million this season, wasn't sure what to expect when he arrived at the ballpark Friday.

"That was pretty intense words he was throwing out there yesterday. I was actually wondering if I would even be coming to the field today after that,'' Grieve said. "I don't know. I'm kind of scared to go approach the guy right now. I don't know what to say.''

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