LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Yankees will already be without one closer for the first 30 games of 2016. They may have lost another one Wednesday.
Andrew Miller left Wednesday’s game at Disney World after throwing only one pitch in the bottom of the seventh, as a line drive off the bat of Willians Astudillo drilled the lefthander on the inside of his right wrist.
The Yankees announced Wednesday evening that a CT scan showed a chip fracture on Miller’s right wrist. He will see a specialist to determine the next course of action.
Miller dropped his glove on the mound and grabbed his arm immediately after he was hit, heading straight for the dugout, where trainer Gene Monahan was waiting for him. Clearly frustrated, Miller flung his hat into the dugout and headed inside to be examined.
“Scary,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You worry. You see him throw his glove. You get this far in spring training and you see how fragile the game is; a line drive like that.”
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Source: Andrew Miller's CT-scan revealed a chip fracture in right wrist. He will visit with a hand specialist to determine the next step.
“It looks like a substantial bruise,” Girardi said. “You worry about when you get hit in the hand or the wrist, all the little bones, but there was a substantial bruise very quickly.”
Girardi followed Miller into the clubhouse a few minutes later and said the lefty seemed to be in better shape than he was when he stalked off the mound.
“I think it took some time,” Girardi said. “He could move his fingers and do all that. I felt better about it. It was still really purple.”
As if Miller’s injury wasn’t enough, the Yankees also watched Bryan Mitchell limp off the field with a sprained left big toe after covering first base in the eighth inning. Mitchell was also headed for Tampa to undergo a precautionary MRI.
“He’s thrown the ball great all spring and I saw him kind of hesitate after he pushed off to go to first,” Girardi said. “I knew something was wrong.”
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Dellin Betances, who replaced Miller in the game — and would presumably fill in as the closer if Miller was forced to miss time during the regular season — checked on Miller after his inning, then texted him again while Miller was headed for Tampa. “Anytime you get a line drive, right away I don’t think it’s going to feel good,” Betances said. “I’m sure right away you’re going to think everything is bad, but when he was in here talking to me, he was all right.”
Betances seemed optimistic that the tests would reveal little more than a bruise. “I saw his hand, I saw his wrist; it was a little bruised, but it didn’t look like (there was any) swelling or anything,” Betances said. “It’s his glove-hand side, obviously. If it’s his throwing arm, then it’s a little more scary. I think he’ll be all right, to be honest with you.”
Should Miller miss any time, it would open up yet another spot in the bullpen. General manager Brian Cashman noted that the Yankees were without Miller
for a month last season when he landed on the disabled list with a forearm strain, though Justin Wilson was still pitching, so the Yankees had two of their top three relief arms available. If Miller starts the season on the DL, it would be at a time that Chapman is ineligible to pitch.
“It’s substantial,” Girardi said of Miller’s potential absence. “The one thing that we’ve talked about, we like our bullpen and the length that it has.
You lose one, someone has to step up. You lose two and you’re asking a lot. We’ll have to figure it out if it comes to fruition.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Yankees optioned Nick Goody, Branden Pinder and Tyler Olson to minor-league camp, leaving three pitchers in camp for two open bullpen spots: Luis Cessa, Johnny Barbato and Kirby Yates. If Miller is forced to open the season on the DL, the Yankees could take all three righties, or they could decide to carry another lefty, bringing Olson or James Pazos back into the mix.
“As much as you try to prepare for what you’re going to do, things can change now,” Girardi said. “You know it’s part of the game and you try to avoid it and prepare for it as much as you can. Sometimes things just happen.”