NEW YORK -- The Yankees placed Marcus Thames on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday with a mild strain of his right hamstring. Outfielder/first baseman Chad Huffman was called up to replace Thames.
Thames said he had been coping with the injury for roughly a week, getting some extra treatment on his hamstring and trying to strengthen it in the weight room. But on Jeff Keppinger's double down the left-field line in Saturday's third inning, Thames felt effects of the injury and had difficulty bending over to field the ball. That hesitancy helped Tommy Manzella score from first on the play.
"It [stinks] because I was there to make the play and get it in, and I just couldn't bend over," Thames said.
He took his turn at the plate in the bottom of the inning, popping out to center field. Manager Joe Girardi said he noticed Thames wasn't running his hardest out of the box.
"He hit the popup to center, and when Marcus, who always plays hard, didn't run as hard as I'm used to, a real red flag went up," said Girardi.
"I felt like I was running in slow motion," Thames said, "and I'm not that slow."
Thames is hopeful that he won't require more time than the minimum 15 days on the DL. The strain is mild, and he said it doesn't feel nearly as bad as the left hamstring strain that kept him out for an even three weeks in 2007 with Detroit.
Girardi said the Yankees' trainers have not determined the grade of Thames' strain yet, and that will play into how much time he misses.
Huffman is a 25-year-old former second-round pick of the Padres who was hitting .279 this season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees claimed Huffman off waivers from San Diego in the first week of April. In 499 career Minor League games, Huffman is a .288 hitter with 65 home runs.
He was pulled before Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's game on Saturday night, receiving the good news from manager Dave Miley.
"It was a good day," Huffman said. "I drove here as fast as I could."
Huffman didn't have to wait long to make his Major League debut with the Yankees. He's in the starting lineup on Sunday in right field, batting eighth. That's a special bonus for all his family members who have made the trip to the Bronx, several of them from his hometown outside of Houston.