Hot under the collar

Maybe it's the heat.

Lately, it seems some baseball players are more interested in hitting with their fists instead of their bats.

There was another confrontation yesterday, this one between the Pirates' Doug Mientkiewicz and Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson.

On Thursday, the Dodgers' Matt Kemp drew a four-game suspension for getting into a fight with Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba. Last Thursday, Boston's Coco Crisp took a swing at the Rays' James Shields after Shields hit him with a pitch. During that same game, Boston's Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez were separated in their own dugout.

At yesterday's Pirates-Diamondbacks game, no punches were thrown, but both dugouts and bullpens emptied briefly when Johnson, visibly irritated, walked toward the plate yelling at Mientkiewicz. Apparently, Mientkiewicz got under Johnson's skin by stepping out of the batter's box twice and taking his good old time getting back in.

Johnson should have been angry at himself: Four of the five batters he walked scored.

Encouraging words

If the struggling Mets are looking for a morale boost, they'd be better served not stopping by Billy Wagner's locker stall.

After the Padres finished humiliating the Mets in a four-game sweep they completed Sunday, it was brought to Wagner's attention that things may not get any easier with West-leading Arizona coming to Shea Stadium this week.

"Why would it?" Wagner said. "San Diego is not an upper-echelon team, and we just got swept by them."

Way to fire up the team, Billy.

One reason the Mets got swept was Wagner. He gave up a three-run homer in the eighth inning against pinch-hitter Tony Clark that led to the Mets' 8-6 loss on Sunday.

Bottle of red

Mike Schmidt now has his own wine label - Mike Schmidt 548 Zinfandel.

The label is part of the 500 Home Run Club Wine Cellars line. It's in stores around the region beginning this week for $18.99 a bottle. According to Brett Rudy of Charity Hop Sports Consulting, 100 percent of the revenue from the sales goes to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The number represents the players' home-run totals.

There is Ernie Banks 512 Chardonnay and Eddie Murray 504 Cabernet.

High&Inside is guessing Schmidt's wine has a complex taste and is best served ultra cool; Murray's is sour and should be sipped with your back turned to the dinner guests; and Banks' has an uplifting flavor that makes you want to drink two bottles.

Noteworthy

Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained left knee. . . . Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin was ejected yesterday after the umpires reversed their call and took a home run away from Mark Reynolds against Pittsburgh.

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-4487