Girardi clears air with Chapman, booed before Game 3

NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Girardi says he and closer Aroldis Chapman straightened everything out. New York Yankees fans haven’t been so forgiving.

Under heavy criticism for a couple of key decisions against Cleveland that went wrong in Game 2 of an AL Division Series, Girardi was booed by a packed Yankee Stadium crowd during Game 3 introductions Sunday night.

Hours earlier, Girardi said Chapman had apologized to him for accidentally “liking” a user’s comment on Instagram calling the New York manager an “imbecile” late Friday night.

“I really believe it was an accident. We talked about it. He came in and apologized. He was concerned about it,” Girardi said. “I had to ask how it works, because I don’t know how that works, and I guess it’s easy to hit a button when you’re scrolling. So I really believe him. I take his word for it, that it was an accident, and you move forward.”

Girardi said the first he learned of the online ruckus was when he spoke to Chapman on Saturday, an off day in the series.

The veteran skipper has been under fire from fans and media following a 13-inning loss Friday to the defending AL champion Indians that left New York down 2-0 in the best-of-five series.

Girardi pulled started CC Sabathia after only 77 pitches to go to his bullpen, which squandered a five-run lead in a 9-8 defeat. Girardi also chose not to ask for a replay challenge of a pivotal hit-by-pitch call prior to Francisco Lindor’s sixth-inning grand slam off reliever Chad Green that trimmed the margin to 8-7.

“There’s a lot of people that are upset with me. And that’s all part of it. And that’s something that I have to deal with,” Girardi said. “The only thing I can do is give my best to this team moving forward, and that’s what I’ll do.”

Girardi said Saturday he felt “horrible” that he “screwed up” and takes responsibility it. He said Sunday the last few days have been “tough.”

“Not every day is perfect,” he said. “That’s my job. I’ve had to do it before and I’ll do it again.”

With the Yankees trying to avoid getting swept out of the playoffs at home, Girardi was asked if he was worried that his Game 2 performance could cost him his job.

Girardi is in his 10th year managing the Yankees, but his contract expires after this season.

“I’ve never worried about my future. I worry about other peoples’ future, but not my own,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”

“I think an organization has to do what they’re comfortable with, right? And it may not always agree with the person that is either being fired or however it goes,” Girardi added. “Whatever their decision is, I’ll live with.”

Asked if he wants to stay on, Girardi said he needs to speak to his family first when the season is done.

“My family’s always going to come first, and I have to do what’s best for them,” he said.

Later, he was asked what else he might want to do.

“I don’t know. I think there’s some dream jobs that I’ll never get to do. I think it’d be fun to be in some different positions in the game. I do. But, I don’t really know. And that’s why I think it’s important to talk to my family and know what they’re thinking,” Girardi said. “I really enjoy managing. I enjoy the competition. I enjoy the relationships. I enjoy watching people have success. All part of it. But again, they make a lot of sacrifices so I can do this, and that’s why I need to talk to them.”

Girardi said all the criticism lately is nothing new.

“I took a lot of heat when I came in here as a player. I mean, it was a tough month and a half,” he said. “I was booed at fan fest. I was booed everywhere. And I hadn’t even played a game. The welcome home dinner, wasn’t so welcome home for me. So I mean, the thing is, there’s a lot of good in every job. But with that, sometimes there comes some bad. And you have to deal with it. You have to weigh the good and bad.”

He said his primary concern was how it might affect his family.

“You worry about your kids taking hits. That’s really unfair to them, so I’m always protective to them. Because my kids have some of the same feistiness that I have with umpires and I always worry about it,” Girardi said. “They might follow stuff or someone might make a jab at school that might be a fan of another team. I mean, that’s happened to my kids. Sometimes they have to deal with it.”

Widely regarded around the game as a smart manager, Girardi guided the Yankees to their 2009 World Series championship. Boosted by some young talent that blossomed quickly, they’ve already exceeded early expectations this year by reaching the playoffs and beating Minnesota in the AL wild-card game.

For the most part, it’s been an enjoyable season in charge.

“Up until Friday, probably pretty good,” he said in his office, drawing laughs from reporters.


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