A's look to capitalize on war of words

OAKLAND -- Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden says he is over his tiff with New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, but his team won't let it go.

In an effort to take advantage of the Braden-Rodriguez controversy that began when Braden objected to A-Rod running across the mound during an April 22 game here, the A's are selling T-shirts that say, "Get off my mound."

"It looks like the A's are making light of the situation," Braden was quoted saying in Monday's San Francisco Chronicle. "In some ways, it might keep what happened alive."

Maybe not for long. Braden, who is on the disabled list and will not pitch, complained to management about the shirts. In response, the A's released a statement on Monday night: "We regret that Dallas has expressed concern in regards to the 'Get Off My Mound' T-shirts that are being sold throughout the stadium. The organization created these shirts in response to numerous fan requests and made them to generate interest in this series. The shirts represent the competitive nature of the team, which Dallas epitomizes, and were intended as a fun way to engage the fans. We will speak privately with Dallas about this to clarify our position and make sure we have a clear line of communications going forward."

Braden says he doesn't plan on going after Rodriguez verbally or physically over the next three days. On the field, in April, Braden yelled, "Get the [expletive] off my mound" when A-Rod broke what Braden thought was an unwritten rule of returning to the dugout.

Rodriguez responded by saying he never heard of such a rule and dismissed Braden's criticism of his route to the dugout by claiming it was funny coming from a pitcher with "a handful of wins."

Later, Braden made reference to his hometown of Stockton, Calif., adding the two may have to settle things with their fists. Rodriguez tried to put out any controversy, saying he didn't want to extend Braden's "15 minutes of fame."

The words had barely escaped A-Rod's lips when the relatively unknown Braden pitched his perfect game on Mother's Day in early May. While Braden fired the perfecto, the Yankees were in Boston. After Braden's grandma told A-Rod to "stick it," Rodriguez responded by saying, "Uncle," and that he was done talking about Braden. Now, it appears, Braden might be too.

"I'm way over it," Braden was quoted in the Chronicle. "My 15-minute timer went off a little time ago."

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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