King Felix Hernandez worked out of trouble repeatedly last night as great pitchers often do. Fourth inning, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez singled and Robinson Cano got ahead 2-0 then fouled off fastball, slider, curve, change-up before popping up for the first out. Mark Teixeira walked but Raul Ibanez whiffed and Eric Chavez flied out. And that’s how it went.
But I’ve buried the lead. The story of the night is not that the Yankees lost it’s that Hernandez hit Rodriguez in the hand on a 3-2 change up–a 90 mph change-up at that–in the eighth inning and the news is not good: a non-displaced fracture. While the Yankees believe that Hernandez hit Rodriguez–or Derek Jeter or Ichiro, intentionally–Rodriguez will not play for the next 6-8 weeks.
“We lost Mo. We lost Andy and now we have lost Al,’’ Jeter told the New York Post. “We will see how good we are. It will be a challenge.’’
“It’s very unfortunate, a big loss. Alex was swinging the bat well,’’ Mark Teixeira added.
The hope is that he’ll recover with enough time to get his swing back before the playoffs. He couldn’t do it last year with a different injury. Either way, it’s a major drag. He goes out 128 hits away from 3,000; 63 RBI from 2,000.
He’s in decline but he’s never stopped playing hard and this year he stole bases and played smart. Another substantial injury for the Yanks to overcome. They can make it, of course, but even as an old man, Rodriguez makes the team better.
[Photo Credit: Kevin P. Casey/AP]