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Yanks protest game vs. Mariners

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NEW YORK — The New York Yankees protested Saturday's game against Seattle after umpires allowed Mariners' reliever Arthur Rhodes unlimited warmup pitches in the sixth inning.

The controversy began when Paul O'Neill hit a line drive off the heel of pitcher Aaron Sele. The ball deflected in the air to shortstop Alex Rodriguez. Because the umpires did not signal an out, Rodriguez threw to first, pulling John Olerud off the bag.

Seattle manager Lou Piniella argued the play, and it was overturned after plate umpire Angel Hernandez conferred with crew chief Mark Hirschbeck and the two apparently saw shoe polish on the ball.

Brett Tomko started warming up as Piniella said he planned to replace Sele to start the seventh inning.

After a double by Bernie Williams and a single by David Justice put runners on first and third, Piniella came back out of the dugout with a trainer to check on Sele.

"I noticed Sele wasn't pushing off," Piniella said. "He stiffened up pretty good. We just couldn't take a chance on leaving him in."

Piniella then brought in left-hander Arthur Rhodes — who was not warming up — to face lefty Tino Martinez. Rhodes was given as much time as he needed to get ready, sparking the protest.

Rhodes got Martinez to ground out, preserving the 3-2 lead, as the Mariners went on to win 6-5.

"Lou wanted to bring the left-hander in and the umpires allowed it," Torre said. "If I'm not mistaken, he ran off the field. They allowed him to get away with it."

Hirschbeck sided with Piniella.

"They can bring anybody in they want," the umpire said. "We're not doctors. The team took the pitcher out due to injury."

Sele has a bruised right ankle and expects to make his next start.