For once, I’m glad I wasn’t able to watch a ballgame – as it was, I had to tape a piece of paper over the photo on the front page of the Globe’s sports section in order to read the articles (it was Theisman-esque in case you missed it).
Here’s wishing him a full and speedy recovery
NEW YORK -- What looked like a routine play in left field turned out to be a damaging blow for the Yankees, who will be without Hideki Matsui for the next three months -- and possibly the remainder of the 2006 season.
Matsui suffered a fractured left wrist in the first inning of Thursday night's game against the Red Sox, injuring himself while attempting a sliding catch on Mark Loretta's fly ball to shallow left field.
"It's a significant chunk of the season," said general manager Brian Cashman when asked how long the Yankees would be without Matsui. "It could be the whole season; we'll just have to wait and see."
"It's more the player we're concerned about than the result," manager Joe Torre said. "You get so close, you're like family in here. When someone has to go through something like this, you certainly feel for that person."
Matsui landed on his left arm as he slid, and his arm appeared to bend awkwardly in the wrist area. Torre didn't think much of the play after watching it happen, considering Matsui's reputation as an iron man.
"He's like the Rock of Gibraltar," Torre said. "You don't even think about anything that is going to keep him down."
After retrieving the ball and throwing it to the infield, Matsui sat back down on the ground, holding his arm. Torre and team trainer Gene Monahan tended to Matsui, escorting him off the field as Monahan held his arm to stabilize it.
"He was in pain, even though he wasn't moaning or complaining in any way," Torre said. "When Geno was feeling around and asking him to do things, Geno said we had to take him in. I know Geno didn't like what he was feeling, so I was prepared for something bad."
"Matsui is a guy you count on every day," said Derek Jeter. "He goes out there even when he's hurt, so you knew when he came out that something was wrong."
Still in full uniform, with a sling supporting his arm, Matsui was taken to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was examined by Dr. Stuart Hershon, the Yankees' team physician, and hand specialist Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser.
X-rays revealed a fractured left wrist, which will require surgery, to be performed on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET at Columbia-Presbyterian.
The injury also ended Matsui's consecutive games-played streak, which stood at 518 with New York and 1,768 overall, including his time in Japan.
"There has been so much talk every time he goes 0-for-4, everybody wonders if he's tired," Torre said. "The thing about the streak, and you think about what [Cal] Ripken did, the fortunate part is never getting anything debilitating."
Major League Baseball Rule 10.24 (c) says that a consecutive-game streak "shall be extended if the player plays one half-inning on defense, or if he completes a time at bat by reaching base or being put out." Because Matsui did not complete the first inning, his streak officially came to an end.
"It's sad for Hideki," said Jason Giambi, who was in the clubhouse when Matsui came in from the field. "He takes a lot of pride in that streak. He's such a good friend; I feel terrible for him. He's a big part of this team and a big part of this lineup."
"We don't know how long he's going to be gone, but it's a minimum of two months," said Johnny Damon. "It could be four, five -- it could go into the offseason. That's a tough loss. It's going to be different looking over my right shoulder and he's not there."
Matsui is hitting .261 with five home runs and 19 RBIs this season. In three-plus seasons with New York, Matsui has a .295 average with 75 homers and 349 RBIs.
The Yankees are already playing without right fielder Gary Sheffield, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist injury.
Bubba Crosby, who started Thursday's game in right field, replaced Matsui in left after the injury occurred. Bernie Williams came off the bench to play right field.
"Unfortunately, that happens in our game, and you have to deal with it," Cashman said. "I think it's going to be a long time. Whether we'll get him back before the season is over or not, we won't know for a while."