The remainder of the season seemingly flashed before the New York Yankees’ eyes Monday as they watched two prominent players leave Yankee Stadium in an ambulance.
They hope to get at least one back when they open a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field.
Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter both left Monday’s 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox in the first inning after Pedro Martinez hit each in the hand. Both were taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays, which were negative.
Though both are officially listed as day-to-day with bone bruises, Jeter hopes to return in time for the opener against the Indians.
“It swelled up pretty quick, but fortunately it’s not broken,” Jeter said. “If I can throw, I’ll play.”
Soriano, the starting second baseman in next week’s All-Star game, expects to miss at least one game.
“It was really sore. I wanted to stay in the game but I couldn’t,” said Soriano, who along with Jeter provide a potent 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup. “I’m very relaxed because it’s just swelling in my hand. … We’ll see how I feel (Tuesday).”
The Yankees have already suffered serious injuries to Jeter (shoulder), Bernie Williams (knee), Nick Johnson (hand), Jose Contreras (shoulder) and Steve Karsay (shoulder) this season, yet are four games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East.
After getting embarrassed in the first two games of the four-game series by a combined score of 20-5, the Yankees salvaged a split, winning 7-1 Sunday before taking Monday’s finale.
“Shane’s swing has been coming around,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said of the former Yankee. “It’s tough for a guy who’s not in every day, but he’s worked hard and done what he’s needed to go out there and do the job when he gets the chance.”
STANDINGS: Yankees - 1st place, AL East. Indians - 4th place, 10 1/2 GB, AL Central.
YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff Weaver (4-6, 5.59 ERA). Weaver earned his first win since May 15 with a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets on June 29. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and three hits over seven innings, while striking out three and walking two. Weaver is 5-4 with a 3.89 ERA and one complete game in 11 career starts against Cleveland.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Billy Traber (3-5, 4.89 ERA). Traber is 1-1 with a 5.92 ERA in his last three starts and is coming off his worst outing of the season. The 23-year-old left-hander surrendered a season-high seven runs and 11 hits over just 2 2-3 innings in an 8-2 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday. Traber will be making his first career start against the Yankees.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Yankees - Hideki Matsui, .310 avg.; Jason Giambi, 23 HRs and 65 RBIs; Soriano, 71 runs and 25 SBs. Indians - Milton Bradley, .346 avg., 47 runs and 13 SBs; Matt Lawton, 14 HRs and 45 RBIs.
2002 SEASON SERIES: Yankees, 6-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Yankees - The New York Yankees optioned OF Juan Rivera to Triple-A Columbus on Monday and recalled INF Erick Almonte to provide insurance up the middle. … 1B Giambi, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI Monday, is hitting .350 (48-for-137) with 15 homers and 37 RBIs over his last 41 games, lifting his average from .201 to .270. … The Yankees’ 29-14 road record is second-best in the majors behind Seattle (31-15). Indians - 3B Casey Blake earned AL player of the week honors after batting .375 (12-for-32) with four homers and 14 RBIs. … The Indians have 17 comeback wins this season. … OF Lawton, who was 3-for-5 Sunday, is batting .310 (26-for-81) with seven homers, 18 runs and 15 RBIs in his last 18 games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Yankees - 29-14 on the road; Indians - 18-22 at home.
INJURIES: Yankees - SS Jeter (hand), day-to-day; 2B Soriano (hand), day-to-day; RF Raul Mondesi (hip), day-to-day; 1B Johnson (hand), 15-day DL; OF Williams (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Contreras (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Antonio Osuna (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL. Indians - INF John McDonald (back), 15-day DL; SS Omar Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL.