New York Yankees manager Billy Martin, whose 36-year career has been marked by more than a dozen fights on and off the field, was recovering Saturday from his latest altercation in a topless bar.

The Yankees said Martin was treated at a hospital for a head injury requiring 40 stitches after a run-in with three men in the bar near Arlington Stadium. The Yankees said Martin was accosted in the men's room by the trio who had been taunting him.But Jody Phillips, an assistant manager of the club, Lace, disputed that description of the incident. "It's out of the question" that it happened inside, Phillips said. "It happened outside."

A woman employee described the establishment as an expensive gentleman's club frequented by businessmen. The woman, who declined to give her name, said it was a topless bar.

In a statement released Saturday, the Arlington Police Department said that Martin "was allegedly assaulted early this morning by two white males at a local night club."

Contacted Saturday night in the wake of Phillips' statement, police spokesman Dee Anderson said, "That's the first I've heard of it."

Martin denied the account given by Phillips.

"That's bull. They're making up stories," Martin said reacting to Phillips' version. "There wasn't even an argument involved. I wouldn't even know the guys if they walked in here. Why search for something that's not there?"

Martin, who managed the team in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to Texas, was exonerated by owner George Steinbrenner, who was with the team when the incident occurred.

"I'm convinced after speaking to various individuals that Billy Martin was victimized in this incident," Steinbrenner was quoted in a statement issued by the team. "Billy is my manager. Case closed."

Martin arrived at the Yankee clubhouse an hour before the start of Saturday night's game and met briefly with reporters.

Martin said he was attacked by three unknown assailants and was struck about the head with a blunt instrument, resulting in injuries in and under his left ear.

Martin said he did nothing to provoke the attack.

"If I was arguing with someone I'd expect it," Martin said. "But I wasn't. One of them pinned my arms. I was hit on top of the head with a blunt instrument. Three guys were pounding me. They left, then some people came in and got me. I didn't even throw a punch. That's exactly the way it happened."

Martin said he never got in a punch.

"I feel kind of embarrassed because usually when I get in a fight I get my punches right in," Martin said with a laugh.