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Ejection abruptly ends Lee's second start

Ejection abruptly ends Lee's second start

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Cliff Lee's second start of Spring Training on Monday featured a few good pitches, a few bad ones, and about as much drama as a Cactus League game can provide.

The left-hander's afternoon came to an abrupt ending in the bottom of the third inning when he was ejected for throwing at D-backs catcher Chris Snyder in an incident that emptied both benches.

With two out and a runner on second base, Lee threw a pitch that sailed over the head of Snyder, who walked out of the batter's box toward Lee as the two barked at each other.

Home-plate umpire Brian Knight immediately ejected Lee, and both dugouts and bullpens emptied toward the mound, but no punches were thrown.

The incident appeared to be related to a confrontation between Lee and Snyder in the first inning, when Lee ran to cover home plate on a Chris Young RBI single and ran into Snyder, causing the lefty to fall down.

Lee got the rest of his work in on a back field, throwing 15 more pitches to end his day at 63.

Meanwhile, both participants in the near fracas tried to downplay the incident, with Lee stating that he didn't intend to throw the ball at Snyder at all.

"I was trying to go inside, a couple got away from me, and the guy hitting got mad and came toward the mound, and I got thrown out of the game in the process," Lee said. "That's it in a nutshell."

Lee said he didn't think the first-inning collision was anything to mention, either, since he wasn't aware of how it happened in the first place.

"All I know was I was rolling on the ground," Lee said. "I got knocked down. I didn't see it all. I was looking at the play."

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Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu declined to comment on the ejection but said he liked the fact that Lee got ahead in counts consistently and expects that the lefty's fastball command will soon be ironed out.

Lee agreed.

"I was trying to go inside, I'd been trying to go inside all day and it was kind of leaking back on the plate," Lee said.

"I walked the first guy on five pitches. I knew then that I needed to really focus on locating fastballs. For the most part, I got ahead of guys, but I need to do a better job on 0-2 and 1-2 pitches of getting it on the black or just off the plate."

As for lingering negativity for when the clubs face each other again in five days -- a game Lee would be on schedule to start -- Lee said there's none.

"It's really not a big deal at all to me," he said. "Maybe it is to [Snyder]. You'll have to ask him."

It appeared to be a slightly bigger deal to Snyder and the D-backs.

"It's Spring Training, that's all it is," Snyder said. "I don't see a reason for it.

"He got me good, man. He charley-horsed my leg, then he threw at my head. He's up, 2-0,on me."

One of Snyder's teammates, Mark Reynolds, wasn't happy about it, either.

"We were hitting him around a little bit, and the next pitch was just uncalled for in that situation," Reynolds said.

"Don't head-hunt. Don't do any of that. It's a bad reputation to have and it's bush league. Stuff doesn't need to happen any time, especially in Spring Training."

Doug Miller is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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