The newest member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Raul Mondesi, had some predictably weak jabs for his former team yesterday. The Yankees had some choice words for Mondi as well.
Joe Torre told The Times:
"I know Mondy was very sensitive about not playing or whenever I pinch-hit for him," Torre said. "When that happened Sunday, maybe he got to the point where he was so frustrated that he didn't think about what he was doing or he didn't care about the repercussions. He was never a volatile guy or anything like that. I keep coming back to the word frustrated.''
But Torre made it clear he was in no way condoning Mondesi's actions.
"It was not acceptable what he did," he said. "George Steinbrenner was obviously aware of what was going on, but this was our decision. I think George was rather fond of Mondy. Brian and I were the ones who pulled the trigger on this."
ET TU, LOUIE?
There was an amusing bit in the early edition of The Post which is not available on-line. George King reports that Mondesi isn't the first Yankee to shower and leave early on Torre's watch:
"I did the same thing in 1998," Luis Sojo told The Post. "I had two hits and [Torre] pinch-hit for me. I was mad. I took a shower and left before the last out. I was hot. The next day I come to the park and I know I was wrong. I was also trying to sneak around so mabye nobody would say anything to me," Sojo continued. "But soon I was told that Joe Torre wanted to see me in his office. I went in there and he was furious. He told me that it was [bleep] to do that and that he never expected that out of me, of all people. Maybe some others, but not me. He also told me he was finning me $2,000."
Sojo got the fine reduced to $1500.
"But I didn't pay it, not then and not in 1999...When I got traded back in 2000, I walked into the clubhouse and everybody was glad to see me," recalled Sojo. "It was, 'Hey, Louie, great to have you back.' Everybody was slapping me on the back. Then I went into Joe Torre's office and he was real serious. He said, 'Do you want to play?' I said, 'Sure.' He said, 'Then give me the $2,000.' It was a lot of money but I paid it."