BRONX — It was a moment that felt like it would only happen to the Yankees this season.
With the game tied at three in the top of the ninth, Cleveland Guardians pinch hitter Oscar Gonzalez hit a bloop single into left field that drew Isiah Kiner Falefa and Harrison Bader both charging to make a play. With both outfielders diving to make the catch Bader went head-first into the side of Kiner-Falefa forcing his early exit.
For a Yankees team already riddled with injury the play was another confounding twist. Bader left under his own power and he was undergoing examination after the Yanks’ 4-3 extra-inning win on Wednesday night.
“I think Harrison’s gonna be fine. They want to make sure with all the tests and just make sure he’s okay,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I was just with him. He was in really good spirits, but obviously, not something we want to mess with or make sure he’s okay. He’ll run through all the testing and stuff.”
The bloop hit was sent into no man’s land between Kiner-Falefa, Bader and Gleyber Torres, who was coming out from the infield and also trying to chase the ball down. The hit dropped allowing a run to score for Cleveland, but the attention quickly turned to Bader who had only returned this week from an oblique injury that kept him out for the start of the season.
Bader did not speak with reporters inside the Yankee clubhouse after the game. While Boone wasn’t sure if Bader had hit Kiner-Falefa with his shoulder or head, Kiner-Falerfa confirmed that it was Bader’s head that made contact with him.
“It’s just two guys that want to make a play knowing the situation,” said Kiner-Falefa, who was making his first career start in left field. “And we’re both short and definitely not the way you want things to go. I want Bader out there. Not trying to hurt him, he’s not trying to hurt me, but at the same time though the situation in the game you don’t want that run to score. We both just played really hard and it was a tough one.”
Then later in the inning, the Yankees suffered another injury when Oswald Peraza hurt his ankle stealing second base. Boone couldn’t say if there would be any injured list stint.
“He’s getting X-Rays and everything, but I don’t know,” Boone said.
The injury came, according to Boone, on the steal attempt and he just rolled his ankle a couple of steps into it. Peraza came up hobbling after he got to the bag.