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David Brown

Yankees complete sweep, coach Kelleher takes one for the team

Big League Stew

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The only thing the New York Yankees came close to losing on Saturday night was first base coach Mick Kelleher.

In the fourth inning, an errant throw by Michael Cuddyer(notes) glanced off baserunner Robinson Cano(notes) and dinged Kelleher in the — well, we didn't get to see exactly where — but it appeared to hit pretty close to his groin.

Ouch.

It probably wasn't a direct hit, but it was close enough to make everyone laugh. Nervously, anyhow. Kelleher got to his feet quickly, seemed in good spirits and kept on working — which only made the scene funnier.

TV analyst John Smoltz(notes) described the play like this:

"This is a play you go over 6,520 times in spring training. It ain't easy," Smoltz said as the ball struck Kelleher. "And neither was that."

The Minnesota Twins should have practiced it at least once more. Incorrectly, the official scorer ruled the play an error; Cano would have been out by two steps had Cuddyer made the play.

When's the last time a coach on the field was hit with a throw? Tommy Lasorda getting hit with a flying bat is the closest thing memorable.

Beyond that, and a few anxious seconds with Kerry Wood(notes) on the mound in the eighth, the Yankees were in complete control, beating the Twins 6-1 to complete a series sweep and advance to the ALCS.

New York also swept the Twins last year, and ended Minnesota's seasons in 2003 and 2004.

Hopefully, the Yankees saved some of the ice that was chilling their champagne for Kelleher, the only casualty of the night.

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