PHILADELPHIA -- Brett Myers usually isn't happy when it's time for him to walk off the mound to be replaced by a relief pitcher. The Phillies' starter is a competitor and wants to push himself to the limit to finish each game. But Myers' competitive spirit took on harsh tones when manager Charlie Manuel walked to the mound to relieve the right-hander in the eighth inning of the Phillies' 4-2 win over the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night. Myers appeared to yell at Manuel as the skipper convened a meeting on the pitcher's mound. Once in the dugout, the confrontation continued. Myers and Manuel could be seen arguing heatedly on the game's television broadcast, shouting at one another while standing nose-to-nose. Myers then spun around and stormed down the tunnel connecting the dugout with the team's clubhouse. Manuel could be seen following Myers toward the tunnel.
Manuel said that he spoke with Myers after the game, and that everything was fine between the two men. "We're just two strong-willed people disagreeing," Manuel said. "But everything's all right. I just got through talking to him. He's fine. He just wanted to stay in the game. I like that. There's nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, if he doesn't want to stay in the game, I'd probably be mad." Myers appeared calm after the game, smiling and joking with reporters.
"It's all patched up now," Myers said, grinning. "We're buddies."Myers limited the Pirates to one run on five hits through 7 2/3 innings Saturday night, striking out six and walking one. He retired the Pirates' first seven hitters and kept them off the board until a Nate McLouth RBI double in the fourth. The 27-year-old allowed the first two Pittsburgh batters to reach base in the fifth, but retired the next three in order to end the threat. It was the beginning of a string of 10 consecutive outs recorded by the right-hander until Chris Gomez doubled with one out in the eighth. It was the third solid start in a row by Myers since returning from a nearly month-long stint in the Phils' Minor League system. Since his return, Myers is 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA. After Myers got Freddy Sanchez to line out to shortstop for the second out, Manuel made his way to the mound. It has become a familiar scene in the month since Myers returned from his stint in the Minor Leagues. Myers -- wanting to stay on the mound to prove that he is better than the pitcher he was when he was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, after beginning the season with a 3-9 record and 5.84 ERA -- makes his case to Manuel to allow him to remain in the game often. "I felt like I could get the next guy out, at least finish the inning off, and then maybe have a decision to be made," Myers said. In Myers' first start back from the Minors, on July 23 against the Mets, he indicated that he had wanted to stay in the game longer when Manuel pulled him after allowing three runs in five innings. In his second start back, on July 29 against the Nationals, Myers cruised through seven innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits. When Manuel came to the mound to relieve Myers, the two engaged in a mostly joking exchange in which Myers shouted, "Check my numbers against this guy," referring to the Nationals' Ryan Langerhans, who was hitting 4-for-27 (.148) against him. But there was no joking around on the mound or in the dugout between Myers and Manuel on Saturday night. Manuel was determined that Myers leave the game on a high note. Though he initially disagreed, Myers said the confrontation was his fault and that he should have respected Manuel's decision. "Sometimes your emotions get the best of you and you might do something irrational out there," Myers said. "He thought I did. It's part of the game."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.