Rangers, injury bug bite Yanks

Rangers, injury bug bite Yanks

NEW YORK -- With two big series against the Mets and Red Sox looming over the next six days, the Yankees were hoping to finish off their four-game series on a positive note, stay healthy and get ready for the hyped-up weekend that awaits them at Shea Stadium.

Unfortunately for the Bombers, they dropped the series finale, 6-2, and lost yet another outfielder in the process, forcing them to limp into the first half of this year's Subway Series.

Bubba Crosby, starting in left field, strained his right hamstring while attempting a diving catch in the fifth inning, becoming the third New York outfielder to suffer an injury in less than three weeks.

"It feels like an epidemic," Crosby said. "I finally get an opportunity to help the team out and end up hurting myself. It's just unfortunate. ... The team needed someone like myself to step up and do the best to pick them up. The last thing we needed was another injury."

Despite a solid effort by Jaret Wright, who tossed six shutout innings before allowing three runs in the seventh, the Yankees finished their 10-game homestand with a 5-5 mark.

Already playing without the services of Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui, the Yankees will now likely enter the weekend without Crosby as well. He was not placed on the disabled list after Thursday's game, but could be headed there by Friday morning.

"In this game, there are always unexpected things that happen," said manager Joe Torre. "Right now, we're going through one of those times."

"I'm the last man standing out there," said Johnny Damon, who DH'd on Thursday but will be in center field this weekend despite a lingering foot injury. "I'm going to continue to take the field in good times and bad. This team can count on me, and I know they know that."

Crosby's injury wasn't the reason for Thursday's loss, though it certainly added to the team's frustration.

Rangers starter Vicente Padilla was the primary culprit, limiting the Yankees to two runs over 6 2/3 innings. Francisco Cordero and Akinori Otsuka finished the job, earning a series split for Texas.

"He had better command than he did against us over there," Torre said of Padilla, who had allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Yankees on May 5 in Texas. "He has a variety of stuff, plus he throws it 95."

Wright and Padilla breezed through the opposition during the first six innings, carrying the scoreless tie into the seventh.

The Yankees managed just two hits in that span, while the Rangers collected four hits against Wright. Texas had the best scoring opportunity in the fifth, opening the inning with back to back singles, but Wright worked his way out of the jam, retiring the next three batters.

"We've had some big hits to the lineup," Wright said. "The pitchers are looking to pick up some slack, try to be on your game every time you go out there."

Texas finally broke through in the seventh, as Kevin Mench singled to start the inning. Brad Wilkerson followed with a two-run homer, snapping the scoreless tie with an upper-deck blast, his seventh of the year.

"In that kind of game, it's going to be one swing and one pitch that turns it," Wright said. "It was a sinker in that I tried to run back over the corner. I didn't think it was that bad a pitch; he did a good job hitting it."

Two pitches later, Wright hit Mark DeRosa, who would turn out to be his final batter. Scott Erickson relieved Wright, and after a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by Robinson Cano, who tried to get the force at home despite bobbling Gary Matthews' ground ball, the Rangers had a 4-0 lead.

"I just tried to throw it right away and I bobbled it," said Cano, who has made three errors in the last two games. "I thought I had time, but I should have thrown it to first."

"It's one of those freak things," Torre said of Cano. "He's such a good player and he's done so many good things for us. I'm not worried about him; he's such a tough kid."

Wright was charged with three runs on six hits in six-plus innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.

"I thought he was really good," Torre said. "He may have run out of gas a little in the seventh inning. I was very pleased, overall. That's four outings in a row where I think something positive has come out of it. "

"He was really good," catcher Kelly Stinnett said. "He threw the heck out of the ball today against a good-hitting ballclub."

The Yankees tried to answer in the bottom of the seventh, using a Cano single and a Melky Cabrera walk to put two runners on with one out. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada walked with two outs, loading the bases for Damon, who represented the tying run.

After Padilla was removed for Francisco Cordero, Damon belted Cordero's 0-1 pitch into left-center field for a two-run single, slicing the lead in half, but Derek Jeter struck out to end the inning, leaving the tying runs on base.

New York put a pair of baserunners on in the eighth, too, but Cordero pitched his way out of that jam, retiring Bernie Williams and Cabrera. Akinori Otsuka closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

Heading into Shea Stadium, where National League rules will apply, the Yankees will probably make a roster move on Friday, with Kevin Thompson (.285, 3 HRs, 10 RBIs, 6 SB at Triple-A Columbus) serving as Crosby's likely replacement.

"It's definitely frustrating," Damon said. "We lose two of the best outfielders in the league when Matsui and Sheffield go down, and now Bubba, who has filled in nicely, gives you good defense and can do all the little things that help you win, he's down, too. Hopefully we can get through this and there won't be another one to go down."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.