That picture up top was taken after Robinson Cano’s second home run tonight. The Yankees were winning, Mark Teixeira was smiling and — even though we didn’t know it at the time — medical tests on Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte had been encouraging. It was going to be a good night.
Literally two pitches later, Teixeira fouled off a pitch, and as he started to come out of the box toward first base, he felt something give in his calf.
“I had a groundball foul ball and I took the first step put of the box and felt something kind of grab,” he said. “I thought I could run through it, finish the at-bat. I drew the walk. Instead of loosening up as I was running, it tightened up more. … (Running the bases) I knew something wasn’t right. It was severe enough that I knew I needed to get out of the game.”
Within a few hours of that picture, the Yankees had blown a lead, lost a game and been forced to imagine life without another key piece of the batting order. Teixeira might not land on the disabled list, but he’s certainly not going to play the rest of this series, very likely won’t play the rest of this week and even his worst-case scenario of missing two weeks might not be worst-case enough. Derek Jeter also had a Grade 1 calf strain and missed three weeks last season.
“Calves can be really tricky,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve seen that from guys. I’m concerned.”
Already playing without Rodriguez — not to mention playing without Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Ivan Nova, Brett Gardner and Michael Pineda — the Yankees now have to shakeup the lineup yet again, finding someone else to bat behind Cano. Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Cano have been awfully good lately, but it’s hard for three guys to carry a team, especially through the key games coming up.
“It’s very frustrating,” Teixeira said. “We’ve had our share of bad luck as most teams in baseball have. We’ve just got to fight through it. We’ve had guys step up all year for us, so whether it’s a week or two weeks, whatever it may be, we’ll have guys step up.”
• Losing Teixeira would have been bad enough, but losing a winnable game on top of the injury left that Yankees clubhouse awfully quiet tonight. “For anybody on our team, that’s tough to watch,” David Phelps said.
• Obviously the three-run homer to Colby Rasmus was the crushing blow in the ninth, but Rafael Soriano had a chance to end the game a batter earlier when he was ahead 0-2 with two outs against Rajai Davis. “He just made a mistake with an 0-2 slider, the second hit,” Girardi said. “And then he left a slider up for the home run. He’s been so good for us. We’ve seen him close so many games for us and do a great job. Tonight just wasn’t his night.”
• As for the 11th, Derek Lowe said his pickoff throw was just too far to the right. “It’s inexcusable,” he said. “It’s not that hard to throw it to the guy, and it didn’t happen.”
• Didn’t see Jayson Nix after the game, but I have to think his opinion of the groundball that scored the winning run would be the same as everyone else
Lowe: “I think in that situation, I didn’t have a thought that he’d go. It’s smart base running. You take advantage of where the ball was hit.”
Jeter: “There’s nothing you could do. (McCoy) went back to third. (Nix) did exactly what he was supposed to do, throw the ball to first. He just made a good play. It’s different if he initially starts going home, but he did exactly what he’s supposed to do. That’s just a good play on (McCoy’s) part.”
Girardi: “He doesn’t have time to look the runner back. It’s great baserunning by McCoy. That’s exactly what you teach. If the ball’s hit a little harder, they can’t do that, but it was the perfect ball.”
• Robinson Cano had the ninth multi-homer game of his career, and his second of the season. It was the 14th time the Yankees had a multi-home game this season — they had 20 last year — and it continued a strong stretch of games for Cano, who seems to have bounced back from that two-week slump.
• Nick Swisher might be just as hot as Cano right now. Swisher is hitting .342 with six homers and 20 RBI in 19 games since moving up to No. 2 in the order. He’s the fifth Major League switch hitter to reach 20 homers this season (of course, Teixeira is among those who got there before Swisher).
• Derek Jeter’s ninth inning homer was his second career home run in the ninth inning or later that tied the game or gave the Yankees the lead. He also had a walkoff against Keith Foulke in 2005.
• Jeter was hitless in 13 career at-bats against Casey Janssen coming into that at-bat. “He threw a ball right down the middle and up,” Jeter said. “Pretty sure he didn’t want it to be there. I don’t pay attention to what I’ve done in the past off someone, but I’m pretty sure it was a mistake on his part, and it barely got out.”
• For the most part, David Phelps looked pretty good. He made two key mistakes — a changeup that Adam Lind hit for a homer and a cutter that Yorvit Torrealba hit out — but otherwise, another solid start from the Yankees rookie. “A couple of pitches left up in the zone and got hurt for it, but other than that, I felt like I had good command of my stuff tonight,” Phelps said. “Felt like I made some good pitches when I needed to.”
• One complaint from Phelps: “Any time we score runs, it’s real important to go out and put up a zero just to keep the momentum going on our side. Both times we scored runs I went out and gave it up. It’s frustrating.”
• If you missed it in the earlier post, here’s Girardi on Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte: “Alex will take BP tomorrow and Andy will do another flat ground. They’re both healing great. After that flat ground, our hope is that maybe we get him in a bullpen.”
• Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless inning with Double-A Trenton tonight. He struck out two and walked one. “Hopefully, I do my job here and open the eyes of Girardi and the big team and they call me up,” Feliciano told Mike Ashmore. “My surgery was the same as Chien-Ming Wang, and he took two years to pitch. I’ve been 11 months. I think I’m ready. I think I’m ready to help the team.”
• Final word goes to Teixeira: “Every game is important. We’ve weathered the storm so far; we’re still in first place and we’re still fighting. A tough one tonight, but we’ve had plenty of guys that have gone down and we’ve had people step up.”
Associated Press photos