This is the part that seemed familiar: Curtis Granderson clearly thought he wasn’t really hurt. Same thing happened when he broke his forearm in spring training. This time, Granderson was hit by a fifth inning fastball, went to first base and waved off any medical attention. He said his hand didn’t really start to throb until he got to third base.
That’s when it became clear the Yankees might have a problem.
“I thought I was going to be OK, very similar to the last time,” Granderson said. “Once I got to third, it started hurting a little bit and I was thinking to myself, I’m going to have to make sure I can go ahead and squeeze a bat before I can go back out there. And as the inning continued to prolong a little bit, it started to throb a little bit more and they said, ‘We’ll go ahead and get you out of here at this time, take a look at it.’ And that’s when we found the news out.”
Granderson will see a specialist in New York on Monday, and the Yankees should have a more reliable timetable at that point. For the time being, Granderson has been diagnosed with a fractured fifth metacarpal near the knuckle of his left pinky. Granderson said doctors here told him he probably won’t need surgery.
Joe Girardi said it will be at least four weeks before Granderson is back, but it’s worth remembering that Alex Rodriguez missed six weeks with a similar injury last season.
“It’s heartbreaking,” David Phelps said. “He puts in all the hard work to get back and now he’s got to do it all over again.”
The Yankees dodged another serious injury when Phelps left with nothing more than a bruised forearm after a sharp line drive that left Phelps shaken, but not seriously hurt. Instead, it’s Granderson who can’t catch a break. He broke his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch in his first spring training at-bat. He broke his hand only 10 days after returning to the lineup.
“I bounced back from this (earlier) one, I’ll bounce back from this,” Granderson said. “The hand is still on. It didn’t fall off. You can take a look at all the positives from everything. It’s a better break than the previous one, that’s a good thing. It should be back sooner than the last time, so that’s a good thing. The team is playing well. Hopefully we come back and the team is right where we need it to be and continue to help this team move forward until the end.”
• Up in Scranton, Donnie Collins reports that Brennan Boesch was packing his bags postgame. Seems likely that he’ll be the call-up tomorrow, but it also seems all but certain that Ichiro Suzuki will once again become an everyday player, no longer on the verge of falling into fourth outfielder status.
• Discussing a possible call-up postgame, Girardi actually forgot that Ben Francisco is on the roster (hard to blame him). Girardi mentioned having only three outfielders and being willing to use Jayson Nix in the outfield if necessary. Reminded of Francisco, Girardi reversed course. “Oh yeah, Francisco,” he said. “Four (outfielders). So disregard what I said. I don’t know what we’ll do. We have so many roster issues, I’m not sure what we’re going to do.”
• As you can imagine, the Yankees clubhouse was really stunned. This seemed to be such a positive day just a few hours ago, now Granderson is gone. Again. “No matter how many games we win, he’s the kind of guy that you need,” Robinson Cano said. “He’s one of those guys that we’re going to miss.”
• Speaking of guys the Yankees would miss, Phelps was outstanding tonight. He had that bad stretch in the sixth inning, which makes the final pitching line look much worse than his actual performance. “I was getting ahead of guys, getting strike one, and I was really hitting my spots early on,” Phelps said. “The inning where they scored the three runs, I just got a little too much of the middle of the plate and I paid for it, but all in all, we got off to a big lead and I really didn’t want to walk anyone. I probably should have been a little more fine there, but it’s a win. It’s a win here, which is always hard to come by, and I’ll take it.”
• When he was hit by the comebacker, Phelps came off the mound and then threw his glove to the ground. He said that was in pure frustration, sparked by the realization that he’d just been smacked by a line drive to his pitching hand. “I was just mad,” Phelps said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been hit in the upper body. I’ve taken a couple off the legs. … If it’s an inch to the right or a couple of inches down or it hits me either in the bone or right on the elbow, it’s serious. It’s one of those things that could have been a lot worse and I’m very fortunate that my guardian angel’s looking out for me somewhere.”
• Phelps said he fully expects to make his next start. Girardi said he’s more worried about Phelps being able to throw his next bullpen rather than being worried about any sort of long-term injury. “A little sore (after the game),” Phelps said. “We’ll see how that feels tomorrow morning is the bigger thing, though. As soon as they brought me in and the doc tested the bone. It wasn’t sore at all. I felt like it was all muscle when I was out there. It’s just frustrating when it happens.”
• Phelps set a career-high with 7.2 innings. … He threw 98 pitches. … He retired the first 13 Rays. … He has a 3.27 ERA since joining the rotation. … This is the first time he’s earned a win in back-to-back appearances.
• One other bright spot today: The bottom of the order combined for eight hits, six runs and five RBI. “They were really good,” Girardi said. “It was really good to get Stewy back out there, to know that we have two healthy catchers is nice.”
• The Yankees intentionally walked Cano with two outs and runners at first and second in the second inning. It was the 20th time since 2008 that Joe Maddon ordered an intentional walk with first base occupied, eight more than any other team during that span. The move worked because Vernon Wells popped out to end the inning.
• This game doesn’t need much of a final word, but here’s Granderson anyway: “It’s just crazy. You can’t really get too frustrated about it one way or the other, hang your head down on it. You keep your head up. It’s done. You can’t turn back the clock, any way you want to. That’s part of it. You just go ahead and continue to move forward and be ready for whenever it heals back up and get a chance to be back on the field.”
Associated Press photos