Clemens May Have To Hit at Shea


Tuesday, October 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


NEW YORK (AP) — New York Mets fans can't wait to see Roger Clemens hit at Shea Stadium. They want to see him pay for his July beaning of Mike Piazza.

At Yankee Stadium, where the designated hitter is used, he doesn't step to the plate. In games at Shea, there is no DH and pitchers bat. That means a Mets pitcher could zing one at the Rocker's head.

``I guess if it was 50-50, you'd probably stay away from it,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said even before the Mets beat St. Louis to win the NL pennant. ``That's not going to really influence how I really line it up.''

In July, Clemens knocked Piazza out of the game and the All-Star game, hitting him in the helmet with a fastball.

The Mets couldn't retaliate at Clemens on the field, but they banned the Yankees from the Shea Stadium weight room the following day.

``If we're concerned about Roger, or if the event is going to be Roger Clemens hitting at Shea Stadium, then we're where we don't have the right priorities,'' Torre said. ``I'm going to line my pitching up the way I think they best line up to win. And that's not going to enter into it, unless it doesn't matter. Then, of course, you would arrange to keep a distraction out of it.''

Mariners manager Lou Piniella made clear that if Saturday's game were between National League teams, Clemens might have had seam prints on his face. To retaliate in Game 4, the Mariners threw a pitch over the head of Yankees catcher Jorge Posada the following inning.

``In the National League, you can take care of it certainly a lot different than you do in the American League,'' he said. ``Instead of throwing at anybody, you just throw at the pitcher, and that's how you stop it.''

Mets manager Bobby Valentine wouldn't address the issue Monday before the Mets won 7-0 in Game 5 to eliminate St. Louis 5-1, but talked about it after the game.

``The battle is the battle,'' Valentine said. ``When a thing like that happens, it's part of the battle. We're now trying to complete this campaign, and it's a very little thing.''

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WHERE WILL LOU BE SWEET? With one more Seattle loss — or six more wins — Piniella finishes his contract as manager of the Mariners.

``Let's not even worry about what my situation is,'' he said after Game 5. ``We've got some work. I don't know. We're going to sit down and talk at the end of the year. It's been that way for — really, since last winter when we met. That hasn't changed. That hasn't changed at all.''

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DEPENDABLE DUQUE: Orlando Hernandez, who pitched the Yankees' pennant-clinching win at Fenway Park last year, has a 1.22 ERA in the postseason, fourth-best among pitchers with significant postseason innings. He trails teammate Mariano Rivera (0.33) and Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax (0.95) and Christy Mathewson (1.15).

Hernandez is the first major league pitcher to win his first seven postseason decisions since Orel Hershiser (1985-95).