Pitcher breaks non-pitching hand in clubhouse

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kevin Brown's frustrating season finally reached

a boiling point, and now his hot temper could cost the New York

Yankees at the most important time.

Brown broke his non-pitching hand when he punched a wall in the

clubhouse Friday night during a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles

that cut New York's lead in the AL East to 2½ games over


Have the Yankees hit the wall? "I did something stupid," said Kevin Brown.
Have the Yankees hit the wall? "I did something stupid," said Kevin Brown.

"Stupidity," Brown said, choosing his words carefully.

"I reacted to frustration I'd swallowed all year. ... There are

no excuses. I let it boil over and I did something stupid. I owe my

teammates an apology for letting my emotions take over like that."

Already short on starting pitching, the Yankees were unsure how

long the 39-year-old right-hander might be out. He was to be

examined by a hand specialist Saturday.

"My plan is to splint it and pitch. I just pray that my

stupidity didn't hurt the team," Brown said.

Acquired from Los Angeles last offseason, the oft-injured Brown

missed seven weeks in June and July with a strained lower back and

intestinal parasite. He tweaked his knee while covering first base

on an awkward play in the fifth inning Friday, then was hit on the

right forearm by Miguel Tejada's RBI single in the sixth.

Steamed by it all, he walked around the clubhouse in the middle

of the sixth and punched a wall, breaking two bones in his left


That was the end of his night.

"You just can't do this, there's no doubt about it. You've got

to keep your emotions in check," general manager Brian Cashman

said. "It's a major issue that we shouldn't be dealing with. It's

a problem."

Cashman and Yankees manger Joe Torre were visibly annoyed.

Cashman said Brown could be disciplined or fined. Torre said he

spoke to Brown and expressed his disappointment.

"Certainly uncalled for and unnecessary," Torre said.

"There's more to this game than one person. We rely on him a great

deal. It's not something that's helping the team, obviously."

After the game, the Yankees began reviewing Brown's contract to

determine whether a self-inflicted injury could void the guarantee

language, one baseball official said on the condition of anonymity.

No determination had been made, the official said.

Brown is earning $15 million this season and is due $15 million

next year, the final season of his $105 million, seven-year deal.

He is not the first player to hurt himself in anger. Cardinals

closer Jason Isringhausen broke his right wrist punching a garbage

can while on a minor league rehab assignment with the Mets in 1997.

St. Louis reliever Mike Matthews dislocated a bone in his pitching

hand in 2000 when he punched the dugout bench in frustration.

"Historically, injuries of this nature, in the heat of a

performance situation, are part and parcel of a player's intensity

and have occurred in the scope and course of employment for many

athletes," said Brown's agent, Scott Boras.

Brown (10-4) dropped to 1-3 in his last five starts and 3-8

lifetime against Baltimore. He allowed three runs and five hits in

six innings, struck out seven and walked two.

"Kevin has great pride and great passion for the game. I'm sure

he regrets it," teammate Alex Rodriguez said. "We've had a lot of

hurdles this year. It's just another one we're going to have to

overcome, and we will."

New York's division lead has not been this slim since before

games of June 12. The Yankees led the AL East by a season-high 10½

games on Aug. 15.

Rodrigo Lopez shut down the Yankees, Tejada got his major

league-leading 122nd RBI, and the streaky Orioles won their fifth

straight following a 12-game losing streak. They improved to 3-11

against New York this season, winning for only the sixth time in

the last 24 matchups.

Derek Jeter homered in the first inning for the Yankees, who

lost for the first time since Tuesday's record-setting 22-0 defeat

against Cleveland.

Lopez (11-8) allowed six hits and struck out seven in a

season-high 7 1-3 innings, taking over the team lead in wins. He

entered with a 13.50 ERA in three appearances against the Yankees

this season.

"Just a tremendous game. To shut down a team like this after

the first inning, that's a pretty good job," Orioles manager Lee

Mazzilli said.

Lopez allowed a leadoff double to Miguel Cairo in the eighth,

but he was stranded when Jason Grimsley got Jeter and Gary Sheffield on easy groundouts.

Jorge Julio struck out Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada

in succession in the ninth for his 20th save in 23 chances.

Jeter hit his 18th homer of the season in the first, but Lopez

escaped a bases-loaded jam when Posada grounded sharply into an

inning-ending double play.

The Yankees didn't get another runner past first base until the


Jay Gibbons and Brian Roberts each hit a sacrifice fly for

Baltimore. Roberts doubled and scored on Tejada's single in the

sixth, making it 3-1.Game notes
Yankees reliever Felix Heredia walked his only two batters

in his first appearance since returning from the minors and was

booed off the mound. ... Baltimore C Javy Lopez was removed from

the lineup before the game because of a stiff neck.