Mussina apologetic, but Gaston receptive?

July 26, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Mussina said yesterday that he will seek out Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston tomorrow or Wednesday and apologize for putting him in a difficult situation during the All-Star Game. Judging from Gaston's comments last night, Mussina has a lot of making up to do.

Mussina got up in the bullpen on his own during the late innings of the All-Star Game at Camden Yards, inciting the sellout crowd when Gaston did not bring him in to get the final out of the American League's 9-3 victory.

"I want to [apologize]," Mussina said. "I know I've obviously caused him problems. I heard they were advertising his fax number on the radio. I'm going to try to talk to him, if nothing else, to apologize for whatever trouble I've caused him. . . unintentionally."

Gaston, unaware of Mussina's comments, was asked about the incident -- and how it has heightened the rivalry between the Blue Jays and Orioles -- before Toronto's game at Texas last night.

"Our players have a lot of class," Gaston said. "Theirs do too, although there is one guy who doesn't have any class."

Gaston went on to say of Mussina: "When you're a baseball player, you know what it means when someone says you're not pitching unless the game goes into extra innings. I don't blame the kid for getting up in the bullpen, but when he was asked about it, he should have said why."

The incident held Gaston up to heavy criticism on network television because no one knew that Mussina had chosen to get up and throw on his own.

Mussina has confirmed Gaston's account that he and Toronto pitcher Pat Hentgen were told before the game that they would (( not pitch unless the game went into extra innings. He now looks at the situation as more of a misunderstanding than a controversy.

"If it would have been in Pittsburgh or Texas, I don't think anybody would have thought anything about it," Mussina said. "Because it was at our place, the fans got caught up in it and the media got caught up in it and it got really out of hand . . . to the point of pitting me against Cito."

Mussina's decision to apologize might reduce some of the fallout from the controversy before the Orioles open a two-game series at SkyDome tomorrow night. Mussina originally was scheduled to pitch the series opener, but a back strain has pushed him back several days in the rotation.

He is tentatively scheduled to make his next start against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night at Camden Yards.

Gaston was asked last night about what kind of reception the Orioles can expect from the fans at SkyDome.

"I think they'll handle it with more class than the fans did in Baltimore," he said.

Mussina, meanwhile, expects the Orioles to hear some booing ** tomorrow. "It would not take me by surprise," he said.

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