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Schilling and Piniella exchange barbs

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella reacted angrily to comments made by Curt Schilling on the "Dennis and Callahan" radio program yesterday morning.

After the Devil Rays lost to the Blue Jays in Toronto, 7-5, Piniella told the St. Petersburg Times that the Red Sox pitcher should be more concerned about his tough start this season than blaming Piniella for the two bench-clearing incidents in Tampa Sunday.

"I think he should just concern himself with pitching and not worry about what other managers do or don't do," said Piniella. "I don't think I've forgotten how to play the game. I know exactly how the game should be played, and why. Quite frankly, I'm disappointed in his comments, very disappointed in his comments."

On the WEEI program, Schilling said, "When you're playing a team with a manager who somehow forgot how the game is played, there's problems. This should have been over a little bit ago. Lou's trying to make his team be a bunch of tough guys, and the telling sign is when the players on that team are saying, `This is why we lose a hundred games a year, because this idiot makes us do stuff like this.' They were saying this on the field."

In response, Piniella said, "Go talk to the players. I don't think they'd say that. I know you wouldn't get one to say that."

Though only two players were hit by pitches in Sunday's game -- both by Boston's Bronson Arroyo -- the benches cleared twice, once when a pitch by Tampa Bay's Lance Carter went toward the head of David Ortiz. In the first two games of the series, Tampa Bay pitchers hit three batters and Boston pitchers two. "I can assure you that we're not throwing at anybody's head or anybody's ear," Piniella said last night. "We just want to play baseball, whether it's against Boston or any other team.

"Our problem here is that I've got a lot of young pitchers. And even though you can make excuses for them -- and that's not what I'm trying to do -- they're a little more prone."

In last night's loss, Devil Rays pitchers hit three Blue Jays batters.

"You can look at our pitches thrown during the course of a ballgame," said Piniella. "You can take a look at our walks. We just don't have the command that the experienced pitchers on the experienced teams have. I'm not making excuses for anything. Nobody likes to get hit. But we're certainly not throwing at people."

Piniella said his team won't back down from anyone.

"If we're going to get thrown at," he said, "we're not going to tolerate that, either."

Schilling, when asked about his comments, didn't back down, either.

"I don't think it was a mystery to any of us why we were out there," he said. "Guys on the field on their team said the same thing. It's a situation they started and they escalated."

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