Julius Matos relieved of his hitting coach duties for the time being
TRENTON – As a direct result of an altercation with manager Tony Franklin during Tuesday night’s loss to the Altoona Curve, hitting coach Julius Matos has been – at least temporarily -- relieved of his duties.
Yankees roving hitting instructor James Rowson has been tabbed to fill the role until Matos returns, if he does at all. Calls to Yankees Vice President of Player Development Mark Newman were not immediately returned.
Franklin himself had little to say on the matter.
“Julius has a couple of issues to be taken care of, and for that reason he’s back in Tampa.” he said. “ … If there’s anything further that you need to know about it, you need to address those questions to Tampa. They can probably give you a little bit more than I’m going to give you.”
When it happened, Matos’ ejection seemed more than a little curious.
It started with one out in the ninth inning and the tying run in scoring position, when shortstop Jose Pirela hit a dribbler in front of home plate and was tagged out by Curve catcher Tony Sanchez. Pirela protested the call, and Franklin came out to discuss things with umpires Shaun Lampe (home plate), Scott Mahoney (first base) and Matt Cunningham (third base).
After the umpires upheld the call, Pirela kicked at the air, then dropped his helmet on home plate. Still, Lampe gave him a little leeway. When Pirela then flipped his bat back toward the dish, however, Lampe gave him the heave-ho.
With Franklin and Pirela both off the field, Matos decided he needed to go and have a few more very loud words with, oddly, Mahoney, who had nothing to do with the initial call.
Matos continued a very animated argument with Mahoney for about a minute or so before he was dismissed. On his way back to the clubhouse to join Pirela, Matos launched a bag of baseballs from the dugout and onto the field.
It has been revealed now that there was an incident after the game between Matos and Franklin over, among other things, the appropriateness of Matos’ actions given his capacity.
Initially, the media were barred from speaking to either Franklin or the players. Franklin relented shortly thereafter and agreed to speak briefly. He looked visibly aggravated during the conversation, and would only talk about things that happened during the game – including the play that led to both ejections.
It was the second ejection for Matos this season, and the second major incident that has occurred on his watch in Trenton. The first came three seasons ago, and involved then -Yankees prospect Jose Tabata.
During a game that summer, Tabata struck out and was less than pleased. He was hitting very poorly at the time and was having problems with his then-wife, and decided the best course of action was to simply leave the stadium during the game.
Tabata was suspended three games for his actions. Upon his return, Tabata, a Spanish speaker, used Matos to interpret his initial interview. The media found out that the translation Matos was providing was not accurate, and alerted both Franklin and Newman, who directed that Tabata and Matos re-do the interview.
It is unclear if or when Matos will return, but if he does, he will certainly be doing so on very thin ice.