We have some sad news to bring you tonight. As ESPN and others have reported, a fan fell from the upper deck onto the field-level seats at Turner Field during Saturday night’s game between the Yankees and the Braves. ESPN’s Wallace Matthews describes the fan as a man in his early 60’s. He died after being taken to a hospital.
Witnesses say the fan had been drinking, and was heckling Alex Rodriguez before falling. The fall was estimated at approximately 50 feet. He was tended to by medical personnel at the stadium for about 10 minutes before he was taken out on a stretcher.
It’s the second fan fatality in three years at Turner Field. In August 2013, a 30-year-old fan fell approximately 65 feet during a Phillies-Braves game.
We offer our condolences to the fan’s family and friends, as well as those who witnessed the accident on Saturday night.
The Yankees’ offense busted out of a slump last night against the Braves, but they did it without Mark Teixeira, who continues to have issues with a deep bone bruise in his lower right leg.
Teixeira originally suffered the injury when he fouled a ball of his leg on August 17. The All-Star first baseman returned to the starting lineup on Tuesday and appeared as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday, but he told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he’s having “serious pain” when he attempts to run.
“It’s not as good as I would have hoped,” Teixeira said. “Running is still a big struggle. I can’t run. It’s just as simple as that. It’s very frustrating.”
A fracture in the leg was ruled out after Teixeira went for X-ray, MRI and CT scan, so he’ll just have to wait for the inflammation to go down. With rosters set to expand on Tuesday, there’s no need for the Yankees to place him on the 15-day disabled list. However, the timetable for his return is very much up in the air.
The leg injury has interrupted what has been a resurgent season for Teixeira, who is batting .255/.357/.548 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI over 111 games. Rookie Greg Bird has been filling in at first base for New York.
With the Braves getting blown out by the Yankees last night, outfielder Jonny Gomes got an opportunity to pitch the top of the ninth inning. As you might expect, it was pretty entertaining.
The reaction to the Chris Young homer was classic. And as you might have noticed on the strikeout of Bryan Mitchell, he had shades of Luis Tiant in his delivery. Fantastic stuff.
Not only was it Gomes’ first pitching appearance in the majors, but he told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that it was his first pitching appearance at any level. Throwing mostly around 70 mph, he ended up giving up two runs on three hits. But he worked fast and didn’t walk a batter. Perhaps most importantly, he saved the bullpen and gave Braves fans something to smile about on an otherwise lousy evening.
By the way, this appearance was Craig Calcaterra-approved.
The Yankees have outrighted lefty pitcher Chris Capuano to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after he cleared waivers. He was designated for assignment by the team on Wednesday.
It’s the latest saga in what has been a busy season for Capuano:
- April 4: Placed on the DL with a strained right quad
- May 17: Activated from the DL
- June 1: Demoted to Yankees’ bullpen
- July 28: Re-inserted into Yankees’ rotation
- July 29: Designated for assignment
- July 31: Outrighted to Triple-A
- August 12: Contract purchased by the Yankees
- August 15: Designated for assignment
- August 18: Contract purchased by the Yankees
- August 22: Designated for assignment
- August 24: Re-signed to a one-year contract by the Yankees
- August 26: Designated for assignment
- August 28: Outrighted to Triple-A
If you’re counting, that’s four DFA’s for the 37-year-old. Capuano has pitched 35 innings at the big league level this season, compiling a 7.71 ERA with a 32/20 K/BB ratio.
Right-hander Michael Pineda is off the disabled list and back in the Yankees’ starting rotation after missing the past month with a strained forearm.
Pineda got off to an excellent start this season, including a dominant 16-strikeout game against the Orioles in mid-May, but after that he went 4-7 with a 4.77 ERA in a dozen starts before going on the disabled list.
He’s expected to be on a limited pitch count initially and given Pineda’s lengthy injury history the Yankees may try to manage his workload down the stretch, but if healthy he could play a huge role in New York’s playoff push.