Crisp defends hard slide into Iwamura
Outfielder says Rays' Bartlett stuck knee out on earlier play
BOSTON -- One of the more bizarre occurrences in Wednesday's matchup between the Red Sox and Rays was a shouting match between Boston center fielder Coco Crisp and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon.
While Maddon was on the mound during a pitching change in the eighth inning, he and Crisp began noticeably exchanging words, causing a scene near the home dugout.
The heated discussion was a result of a series of plays beginning in the sixth. After reaching base on a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth, Crisp dug in and headed toward second on a stolen-base attempt.
As Crisp arrived, Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett used his knee to block the base while trying to catch the throw down from catcher Dioner Navarro. Crisp was safe on the play, but he injured his left thumb and had it wrapped up after the game.
"He put his whole knee in front of the bag. And that's not something you do," Crisp said. "You can do that, but that's shady. And he's not a bad dude, but that was shady. If you're going to hurt me, I'm going to come back and hurt you."
In the eighth, Crisp again found himself on first after a walk. He attempted to steal second base -- this time with Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura covering the bag -- and sent a forearm into the Tampa Bay infielder.
"I was not pleased with the slide," Maddon said. "There was something that happened earlier that I believe provoked him ... but I totally felt there was intent to hurt our middle infielder, and that's what I was upset with."
Crisp said given the circumstances of how he interpreted Bartlett's actions on the play, he said he thought the shortstop should be handling his second steal attempt.
"He didn't want to cover the bag the second time," Crisp said. "They probably had it changed up because they thought [Julio] Lugo was going to hit the ball to Bartlett's side or something like that. But if you're going to do something like that, I don't care what the situation is, take your own lickin'."
Iwamura said after the game that the play was over, he wasn't hurt and he's looking toward Thursday's game.
Crisp, on the other hand, said he'd keep an eye on his thumb -- which he thought was just a "mild sprain" after the game.
"As soon as it happened, I tried to poke at it a little bit, shake it, see how it feels," he said. "See how it feels for the next couple days. See how much it inflames."
As for the situation, Crisp said he's comfortable with his actions and said if the Rays plan to retaliate, don't take it out on his teammates.
"I'll take mine. I mean, if they want to come back after me for some reason, we're tick for tack right now," Crisp said. "But it is what it is for now, and I'm going to leave it alone."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.