BOSTON (AP) – David Wells said Tuesday he was wrong to criticize commissioner Bud Selig for ordering the New York Yankees to remove a sign apologizing for the absence of star players who were at the World Baseball Classic.

The Yankees put up a sign in early March at their spring training ballpark, apologizing to fans for the absence of players who were at the WBC. Major League Baseball then directed that the Yankees remove the sign. In the interview with The Hartford Courant published March 8, Wells was quoted as saying, “Bud Selig needs to resign. That’s what he needs to do.

“He needs to resign and bring someone in who’s capable of communicating with the players association and the owners, as well as the players, because there’s so much hatred against Bud right now. It’s a joke. Nobody likes him.” “I wish to apologize for my comments of a few weeks ago regarding commissioner Bud Selig,” the Boston Red Sox left-hander said in a statement e-mailed from the office of his agent Gregg Clifton.

“While I disagreed then and still disagree today with commissioner Selig’s response to a sign posted at the Yankees spring training stadium regarding the World Baseball Classic, my remarks were overly harsh and should not have been directed personally at the commissioner.

“Mr. Selig’s job subjects him regularly to close scrutiny by all who work in and follow the game,” the statement said. “That job should not be made even more difficult by unwarranted personal attacks.”

Selig has not received the apology, baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said.

Wells went on the 15-day disabled list last Saturday, retroactive to the previous Thursday. He is 0-1 with a 15.75 ERA in one game this season.

“If he needs to apologize to the fans, so be it,” Wells said of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in the Courant interview. “If Bud has a problem with it, tell him to go take it down himself. And then I’d repost it again.”

AP-ES-04-18-06 2138EDT