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Piazza Beaned in Head by Clemens

July 9, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mike Piazza was hit in the helmet by Roger Clemens’ fastball Saturday night and sustained a concussion that forced him to leave the second game of the Mets-Yankees split doubleheader.

Piazza will miss Sunday’s finale of the four-game series, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said, but may be able to play in Tuesday’s All-Star game in Atlanta.

Mets manager Bobby Valentine claimed the beaning was deliberate.

``My player who’s had pretty good success against their pitcher got hit in the head,″ he said. ``I’ve seen him hit guys in the head before.″

Clemens said he wanted to pitch inside, but said the beaning was accidental and left him shaken.

``I’m glad to hear he’s all right,″ the pitcher said. ``It was supposed to be in. I wanted it to be belt high.″

The beaning came in the top of the second at Yankee Stadium. In the bottom half, the Mets’ Glendon Rusch hit Tino Martinez in the backside with his second pitch.

Martinez calmly took his base as plate umpire Doug Eddings warned both teams against further trouble.

``That’s part of the game,″ Rusch said. ``You need to do what has to be done. I obviously didn’t want to do what I did.″

He said he wanted to back Martinez off, not hit him.

``It got away from me,″ Rusch said. ``Obviously, I didn’t want to put a guy on in a 0-0 game.″

Piazza was examined by Yankees team Dr. Stuart Hershon at the ballpark, then taken to the Hospital for Special Surgery and examined by Dr. John Coronna, who had X-rays taken.

``He was a little bit groggy,″ Hershon said. ``He appeared to be stable. But I felt it best that he be seen for some precautionary tests. ... In these situations it’s best to take precautions. But I think he will be OK.″

Piazza, who had homered in three straight games against Clemens, was sent sprawling by an 0-1 pitch to start the inning. Two trainers and Valentine rushed from the dugout to tend to Piazza, and Clemens walked toward the plate for a closer look.

Piazza stayed on the ground for a minute, was helped up by a trainer and walked to the bench. Several of the Mets moved to the top step of the dugout, and coach John Stearns seemed particularly animated.

Matt Franco entered as a pinch-runner and stayed in as the designated hitter.

Piazza, elected to start at catcher for the NL in Tuesday night’s All-Star game, is 7-for-12 lifetime against Clemens with three homers and a double.

Martinez had three hits and drove in three runs at Shea Stadium earlier in the day as the Yankees won 4-2.

After Martinez was hit, Eddings went to the mound to talk to Rusch. Valentine, ejected after one pitch of the opener, waved his arms while arguing with crew chief Tim Welke, but remained in the game. Yankees manager Joe Torre came out to talk with Eddings.

Torre said the beaning was accidental, claiming the Yankees wouldn’t want to stir up the Mets after winning the first two games of the series.

``The game has changed quite a bit,″ Torre said. ``My first time around the league, I was thrown at many times, just to see how I’d respond to it. That was part of the game. It’s no longer part of the game.″

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