R.A. Dickey had just been rocked by Lyle Overbay's two-run homer as the Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer got ready to throw one of his gimmicky pitches to the next batter. In the New York Yankees bullpen, David Robertson — who had just caught Overbay's dinger — was warming up to preserve the 3-2 Yankees lead.
Out in front of the dugout was that next batter — Eduardo Nunez — who was being treated by trainer Steve Donohue with eye wash. And Dickey didn't like it.
“What had happened, and it was fairly obvious to everyone in our dugout, was that Joe (Girardi) was trying to get (Nunez) to take some extra time so he could get Robertson warmed up in the bullpen,” Dickey said. “(It’s) just gamesmanship on his part.”
Dickey approached plate umpire Chris Conroy to voice his objection. Toronto manager John Gibbons came out of the dugout to ask Conroy about it. Before the debate could get any more heated, Nunez came to bat.
Even before Dickey opened his mouth, Girardi was asked about what was happening and said, “Nunie had something in his eye.”
Told of the accusation, Nunez said, “You can’t predict you’re going to have something in your eyes. It happens. It was only for a moment. Why he said that, I don’t know.”
The Yankees were stuck between a rock and a hard place. There was no way Nunez was coming out of the game — with only sore Kevin Youkilis waiting as the only replacement infielder — and Girardi wasn't going to take chances on his already thin bench.
Dickey’s ire was more directed at the umpiring crew than at Girardi and the Yankees.
“It’s well within the confines of the rules, it’s just that the umpire needs to have a feel for the game and know what’s going on,” Dickey said. “It’s certainly not Joe’s fault. He’s doing what he can to get his team ready to win the game. It’s the umpire’s responsibility to know what’s going on there.”
The knuckleballer gave up four hits in seven innings but two of them were home runs. The tough loss dropped Dickey to 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA as the Yankees completed the four-game sweep of their northern neighbors.