When Derek Lowe takes the mound for the Boston Red Sox tonight, it will be Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada's first chance to face him since their emotional encounter in last year's American League Division Series.
Tejada and his Oakland Athletics teammates felt Lowe made an obscene gesture after striking out Terrence Long to seal a 4-3 victory in the deciding fifth game on Oct. 6. Lowe punctuated the strikeout by bringing his fists down to his hips as he faced the A's dugout.
Reporters entered the clubhouse to find Tejada in a rage.
"Derek Lowe is going to pay for that sign he made," Tejada said. "I'm a man. I'm a professional. I have my kid up in the stands. He's going to pay for that."
Yesterday, Tejada remained adamant about how he felt but added, "That's in the past."
"I think everybody understood what I said last year," said Tejada, who is 6-for-20 with one home run against Lowe for his career. "It's not because they beat us and it's not because he did a great job. There were a lot of kids watching that game and you're not supposed to make that kind of sign.
"It's not only me who was mad at that. A lot of players were mad at that. ... It's over. It's a new season. Nothing against him, nothing personal."
Lowe called it "a complete non-issue" yesterday.
"If I have the chance to say 'hi' to him today, I will," Lowe said. "People actually think we had some big fistfight on the field. It was an emotional thing for both sides. I [have since] apologized to the whole team. I think we're both over it."
After serving as the designated hitter on Opening Night, David Segui gave up his spot yesterday to B.J. Surhoff, who hit into a double play and struck out.
Mazzilli based his decision on numbers. Surhoff was 7-for-20 lifetime against Curt Schilling. Segui was 1-for-14.
"It's just the matchups," Mazzilli said.
Segui pinch-hit for Surhoff and struck out against left-hander Alan Embree.
Lee Mazzilli estimated that he had at least eight cell phone messages waiting for him immediately after the Orioles completed Sunday night's 7-2 win.
New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and first baseman Jason Giambi were counted among the callers, all of them offering congratulations for Mazzilli's first victory as a major league manager.
"It's special because they're special people in your lives," Mazzilli said. "Joe just said, 'Don't get thrown out.'"
The opener also provided Mazzilli with his first chance to meet majority owner Peter Angelos. They spoke before the game, and again in the manager's office afterward.
"It was special because I want him to really be a part of the team, to be around and see the guys. That's important," Mazzilli said. "And I think he feels that as well."
Boston right fielder Kevin Millar left the game in the eighth inning after catching a fly ball and colliding with center fielder Johnny Damon. Millar's face slammed into Damon's left shoulder, leaving him with a bloodied nose.