In return to lineup, Headley ejected for arguing strike call

Yankees third baseman upset with umpire Foster's zone throughout game

In return to lineup, Headley ejected for arguing strike call

ST. PETERSBURG -- There was still fresh evidence of Chase Headley's most recent at-bat before Monday night's game, plainly visible in the yellow and purple bruising that remains from the 97-mph fastball that drilled the Yankees infielder in the chin last week.

Headley made a healthy return to the lineup, but his evening was abbreviated by a verbal spat with home-plate umpire Marty Foster, who ejected him for arguing balls and strikes in the seventh inning of New York's 1-0 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

"I had a disagreement with a few pitches throughout the game. Nothing serious," Headley said. "I didn't think what I said to him warranted the response that I got, and it just kept going."

It was Headley's third career ejection and his most recent since Aug. 19, 2012, when he was playing for the Padres against the Giants. Headley said his dispute with Foster started during his first plate appearance of the night, in the second inning against Alex Colome.

"The first pitch of the game, I come in, got hit with 97 in the mouth [last week] and the first pitch I see is 95 at my ribs," Headley said. "Then he calls a changeup a foot off the plate and it's like, 'C'mon.' It kind of started me off on the wrong foot.

"The borderline ones you live with, but when there's a pitch that should not be missed, ever, I think that's when as a player you get a little bit more upset. Then as the game went, there were some more borderline calls that kept going the other way and I had enough."

Headley said that in the seventh inning, after taking a called strike from Colome, Foster barked for Headley to return to the box. Headley said something in response and Foster ejected him. Headley was replaced by pinch-hitter Stephen Drew, who popped out to third base.

"I didn't think Chase was showing him up," manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't understand that. It's one thing if you're arguing, you're going back and forth and showing him up, but these games mean something. It's a shame. He questioned some strikes. Hitters should be allowed to do that.

"We should be allowed to do that. At some point, it would be nice if umpires said, 'If you say another thing, you're gone.' You can do that. If he barks and you bark back; it wasn't like a whole lot of people knew what was going on. It's frustrating to me."

David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.