PHOENIX -- Retired pitcher David Wells called Joe Torre "a coward" for not personally telling the left-hander he wouldn't be pitching for the Yankees in the 1997 playoffs against the Indians, instead sending pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre to deliver the news.
Torre brushed off the criticism Friday.
"I don't even remember that," Torre said. "I feel badly David think he was picked on or not treated fairly. That was not our intent. When he could have left after '98, he chose to come back. It must not have been too bad. I saw David in New York [at Monday's tribute to George Steinbrenner]. We shook hands. I thought everything was OK."
Here's part of the transcript of Wells' Yahoo! interview podcast:
"I had Stottlemyre come up to me in '97 and tell me they were going to sit me out in the first round against Cleveland. I said, 'If you're going to sit me out the first round, you might as well just send me home.' That pissed me off because I won like 15, 16 games for them. [...] That's pretty degrading when you have your manager tell your pitching coach to tell you, 'Hey, you're going to sit out,' rather than telling you himself. That's what Joe Torre is to me, a coward.
"I don't like him at all. As a manager, I think he's terrible. He wasn't a fair manager. He didn't treat people the same. He definitely didn't treat me the same. [...] If he tells you anything else, he's a liar."
In the book Torre wrote with Tom Verducci, "The Yankee Years," he wrote:
"The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to."