NEW YORK – Rickie Weeks Jr. has been part of collisions at home plate – where hard contact is expected -- but nothing like he experienced at first base during the Rays’ 8-4 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday.
In the sixth inning, a one-hopper off Brett Gardner’s bat was fielded by pitcher Xavier Cedeno, who fired wildly to Weeks. Charging down the line, Gardner did not see Weeks standing at the bag and both men collided violently.
Chase Headley scored on the play, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead, but Gardner and Weeks’ health became the concern. Gardner laid on his back, moving gingerly before sitting up and exiting under his own power; Weeks was favoring his right shoulder and left the game as well.
“It was a low throw, I was trying to get in front of it, it bounced and kicked away,” Weeks told reporters, including DRaysBay. “I thought he was a step getting past me but we stepped at the same time so we collided.”
Logan Morrison, who sat in favor of Weeks on Wednesday, came in for Weeks after the injury. When he saw the play, Morrison knew his rest day would be cut short.
“As soon as I saw [that collision], I started getting my stuff and I was ready to go,” Morrison said to DRaysBay after the game.
The Rays announced during the game that Weeks was removed as a “precaution” with right neck and shoulder soreness. Rays skipper Kevin Cash confirmed that Weeks avoided serious injury.
“Right now it’s just kind of a bone bruise in that AC joint area, we don’t think [there is] structural damage,” Cash said in a postgame press conference. “It’s going to be sore for a couple days, he [suffered] pretty good whiplash when him and Gardner collided.
The 34-year-old veteran said he’s currently day-to-day but cast doubt on a disabled list trip.
“No, I don’t think so,” Weeks said.
The collision was a bitter ending to an otherwise productive day for Weeks. He hit a two-run homer off Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who was making his MLB debut, in the first inning. The homer was Weeks’ 160th career blast and first against the Yankees.
That was the reason why the right-handed Weeks got the start against the left-handed Montgomery – just his third career appearance at first base. Weeks’ inexperience at the position may have been a reason for the collision but the Rays manager thought the outcome was a product of the play itself.
“No, I don’t think so,” Cash said on whether or not a more experienced first baseman would have avoided the impact. “The collision happened because of the throw, Rickie is doing everything he can to catch it and stay on the bag. It doesn’t matter who’s playing over there, you probably have a collision there.”
After speaking to the media, Weeks asked that anybody who was going to the Yankees clubhouse deliver a message to Gardner: Feel better.