Jaret Wright hopes to shake off a frightening incident in his last start, and help the New York Yankees continue their push to the playoffs when he takes the mound for the middle game of a series with the visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Wright, 2-0 in four starts since a four-month stint on the disabled list with a sore throwing shoulder, was struck on the right collarbone by a line drive during the Yankees’ 5-1 loss at Seattle last Thursday.
The hard-throwing right-hander stayed down on the mound for a few minutes as players rushed to his aid and then helped him to his feet. Without taking any warmups, he walked to the dugout under his own power.
Fortunately for Wright and the injury-plagued Yankees’ staff, X-rays came back negative and a side session Sunday cleared the way for his return Wednesday.
“It doesn’t feel like I didn’t get hit, but I don’t see it as something that could hamper me,” Wright said. “When it happened, I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think that would be the case.”
Wright allowed one run and three hits over 5 1-3 solid innings against the Mariners, and has surrendered two runs or fewer in three of four outings since his return. The Yankees have already lost starters Kevin Brown (back) and Carl Pavano (shoulder) to season-ending injuries, and are hoping Mike Mussina (elbow) can return before the end of the regular season.
Randy Johnson appeared primed to give the Yankees a good start to this series, but squandered an early 3-0 lead as Tampa Bay rallied for a 4-3 win, clinching its first-ever season series win against New York.
Robinson Cano’s error with one out in the ninth inning allowed pinch-runner Joey Gathright to score the winning run as the Devil Rays improved to 10-4 against the Yankees this season. They entered the year with an all-time mark of 31-80 against New York since joining the majors in 1998.
The defeat dropped the wild card-leading Yankees four games back of first-place Boston in the AL East. New York has won the division in each of the previous seven years, with the Red Sox finishing second each time.