NEW YORK (AP) — The playoff-bound Yankees blew a three-run lead against the worst team in the majors Sunday — and then came the really bad news.
New York shortstop Didi Gregorius has torn cartilage in his right wrist and is unsure whether he will be able to play in the AL wild-card game on Oct. 3. Gregorius, who has 27 homers and 86 RBIs, got injured Saturday when he slid headfirst on Aaron Hicks’ 11th-inning double to score the run that clinched a postseason berth for the Yankees.
“It feels a little bit better now,” Gregorius said after missing a 6-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in New York’s final home game of the regular season. “I slid into home plate, my right hand got stuck. We were celebrating, everything was fine. I went home, fine. I woke up this morning, it wasn’t feeling good.”
Gregorius had an MRI that revealed a small tear, he said. He received a cortisone shot and will be re-evaluated soon.
“We’ll know a lot more in a few days,” manager Aaron Boone said .
Gregorius said the injury is “really frustrating” but he has some mobility in his wrist and is very optimistic he’ll play in the postseason. New York has seven regular-season games remaining and is trying to secure home-field advantage in the wild-card game.
“They say things like this happen to other players but some of them play through it,” Gregorius said, explaining he feels soreness but not sharp pain.
If Gregorius is unavailable, the Yankees have a couple of options at shortstop. They could turn to Adeiny Hechavarria, especially if they’re concerned about defense. Or they could slide Gleyber Torres over from second base and put Neil Walker’s bat at second.
“Didi’s a great player and obviously I think everyone in this room understands how important he is to our team,” Boone said. “Kind of an anchor for us defensively in the infield, and obviously what he brings from the left side of the plate. So, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but hopefully we get some good news here in a few days.”
New York remained 1½ games ahead of Oakland for the top AL wild card when the Athletics lost 5-1 to Minnesota.
Boone said it’s important to the Yankees to get the wild-card game in the Bronx — where they finished 53-28 this season. They sure didn’t play that way, though.
Tim Beckham homered twice for the lowly Orioles, who trailed 3-0 early.
J.A. Happ needed 107 pitches to get through five innings in a possible tuneup for the wild-card game. Happ allowed only one run, but A.J. Cole (3-1) quickly coughed up a 3-1 lead in the sixth as the Yankees rested their best relievers.
Baltimore (45-110) remained one loss shy of matching the franchise record for defeats set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns, who went 43-111.
Orioles second baseman Breyvic Valera broke his left index finger on a headfirst slide into home plate, the team said. Valera was in a cast and a sling after the game.
Alex Cobb lasted only four pitches in an abbreviated start, leaving with another blister problem. The right-hander exited his previous outing Sept. 11 after two innings because of a blister on his middle finger.
“Actually in the bullpen, it was starting to heat up a little bit,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We knew it had potential to be a short outing. We wanted to give it a shot.”
The Yankees took advantage by scoring three times in the first, but then their bats went silent against five relievers.
Ryan Meisinger (2-0) pitched two perfect innings and Mychal Givens worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his ninth save.
“Just stalled out offensively,” Boone said. “Frustrating way to end this homestand, but we’ve got to get past it.”
Renato Nunez also homered for Baltimore, and DJ Stewart drove in two runs off the bench. Joey Rickard had three hits.
Miguel Andujar and slumping Gary Sanchez each had an RBI single for the Yankees in the first. Torres delivered a sacrifice fly.
END OF THE ROAD
Cobb probably won’t pitch again this year, Showalter said. The right-hander is 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA in his first season with the Orioles after signing a $57 million, four-year contract.
“It hasn’t been anything that we envisioned before we made the commitment to come here,” Cobb said. “I don’t think anybody envisioned it would turn out this way. You never sign up for something like this.”
The Yankees drew an AL-leading 3,482,865 at home this season, an average of 42,998. That was up from 3,146,966 last year and New York’s highest at home since 2012. The Yankees had 23 sellouts, their most at new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009.
Orioles: Valera exited in the fifth after getting tagged out at the plate. He was acquired from the Dodgers in July as part of the trade for Manny Machado. … RHP Andrew Cashner (left knee) probably won’t pitch again this season, Showalter said.
Yankees: CF Aaron Hicks walked in the seventh as a pinch-hitter and stayed in the game. Hicks fouled a ball off his ankle Saturday just before his game-ending double. “He’ll be all right,” Boone said.
Orioles: Before this miserable season finally comes to an end, the Orioles still have seven games left against Boston and Houston — the top two teams in the majors. RHP Dylan Bundy (8-15, 5.37 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday night at Fenway Park against RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 3.98).
Yankees: Had not announced a starting pitcher for the opener of a four-game series Monday night at Tampa Bay. RHP Luis Severino (18-8, 3.38 ERA) is on turn.
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