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09/20/08 12:59 AM ET

Carmona mum after melee

Sheffield takes plunking personally, rushes mound from first

CLEVELAND -- Mum was mostly the word in the Indians' clubhouse regarding Friday night's bench-clearing fracas.

Fausto Carmona, who pegged Gary Sheffield to start the whole thing, refused to comment on any questions involving the altercation. He just wanted to talk about the Indians' 6-5 comeback win.

Even when a reporter jokingly asked if his pitching hand hurt after hitting the 39-year-old veteran several times in the head, Carmona barely cracked a smile.

"No," Carmona said. "I want to talk about the game only."

It was a reflection of his manager, who also ended all talk of the fracas after the first question.

"I'm not going to talk about it just because if I answer one question then there will be more questions," Eric Wedge said. "I'd just rather stay away from it.

"Obviously, everyone can make their own deductions from what they saw. I think we've got a couple more games, and it's best that I just don't comment on it at all.

What the 33,733 in attendance at Progressive Field saw was a listless, fast-paced game come to a screeching halt and abruptly turn into a free-for-all of sorts in a matter of seconds.

It all started when Carmona hit Sheffield in the left elbow with a pitch with one out in the top of the seventh, two batters after Miguel Cabrera's second home run of the night put Detroit on top, 4-2. Sheffield walked slowly to first base, carrying his bat with him while staring at Carmona at various points.

Carmona, who leads the Indians in hit batsmen, plunked Sheffield in a game against the Tigers on April 17.

Not many of the Indians said they remembered that. Sheffield, meanwhile, was well aware.

"This is the third time," Sheffield said, though it wasn't immediately apparent what the third might be. "Like I said, three strikes, you're out. And if there's a fourth, it gets more violent, trust me."

The action quickly got violent after Carmona threw over to first base moments later. Sheffield gestured and yelled, "Throw the ball home" at Carmona, who answered back. That sent Sheffield sprinting off of the bag and toward the mound as Carmona met him and both dugouts and bullpens emptied.

"He called me out," Sheffield said. "If you call me out, I answer the call."

Replays showed Sheffield and Carmona wrestling in the middle of the scrum as Carmona, who had Sheffield in a headlock, delivered multiple punches to the top of Sheffield's head. Others on both sides tried to break up the scrum.

They briefly succeeded, having pulled the players apart, until Victor Martinez started exchanging words with a Tigers player. It took several players to hold back Martinez, including fellow Venezuelans Magglio Ordonez and Cabrera. Several Tigers, meanwhile, forced Sheffield back into the visitors' dugout.

Sheffield, Carmona, Martinez and Placido Polanco were all ejected from the game, forcing an entirely new pitcher-battery duo into the game for Cleveland and a new baserunner for Detroit.

Martinez, who was playing Nintendo with Josh Barfield before he addressed the media, was still steamed about the incident.

"If you're going to do something, you charge right away," Martinez said. "After you're at first, what are you trying to do, get attention or what?

"You've got to protect your teammates. I'm not going to let anyone go at my pitcher like that."

Martinez brought attention to Carmona's tendency to pitch inside to every hitter, not just Sheffield.

"Everybody knows that Fausto's ball moves too much," he said.

Sheffield was particularly upset at Martinez, whose act, Sheffield said, "is tired."

"All this macho stuff -- throwing the equipment off," Sheffield said. "Trust me, you don't want any of me."

Sheffield didn't direct his anger just at Martinez.

"I saw the tape," he said. "I know who they are and I guarantee you they'll have to deal with me."

Sheffield, and anyone else involved in Friday night's fracas, will likely have to deal with the powers of Major League Baseball first.

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