Originally created 05/08/99

Knoblauch day to day with bruised leg



NEW YORK -- After narrowly avoiding a debilitating injury on a vicious take-out at second base, Chuck Knoblauch said he was scared to even look at a replay.

Perhaps emboldened by a positive medical report, Knoblauch finally did catch a replay Friday of Corey Koskie's rolling slide into second base a day earlier in Minnesota.

"To see it really made me appreciate more how fortunate and lucky I am that nothing serious happened," said Knoblauch, who wasn't in the lineup for Friday's game against Seattle because of a severely bruised lower left leg. "I got blindsided. I've never been hit that hard."

Knoblauch, limping around the Yankees clubhouse, received two hours of treatment on the leg and ankle Friday. He hopes to play sometime this weekend, but manager Don Zimmer said Tuesday might be a more realistic goal.

Even if it is longer than that, the Yankees know they escaped what could have a serious injury.

"As soon as it happened, I didn't even wait for a medical report. I paged (vice president of scouting) Mark Newman right away to see what we had a Triple-A," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I was expecting the worst. I thought it could be a Joe Theismann-like situation and his career could be in jeopardy."

The play that almost cost the Yankees their second baseman happened to save them the game. With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Ron Coomer hit a chopper to Derek Jeter at shortstop. Jeter threw to Knoblauch for the force, and it appeared he had no chance at the double play.

But Koskie came barreling into the base and rolled up Knoblauch's leg before the relay throw. Second base umpire Jim Joyce called Coomer out at first on Koskie's interference, getting New York out of the jam and setting up its 10th-inning win.

Koskie tried to apologize to Knoblauch after the game, but the Yankees second baseman hadn't yet returned from the hospital. Knoblauch doesn't feel that Koskie, who played with Knoblauch at the Twins' spring training camp in 1997, made a dirty play.

"I don't think he was trying to injure me," Knoblauch said. "He's a good kid and he plays hard. He got a little reckless though."

Twins manager Tom Kelly called Zimmer less than 10 minutes after the game and apologized for Koskie's play. Zimmer, who wasn't even looking at the play, said after viewing a replay that he was amazed Knoblauch didn't break a leg or tear knee ligaments.

Zimmer started utilityman Luis Sojo in Knoblauch's place at second and had Chad Curtis bat leadoff against the Mariners.

Curtis has been one of the Yankees' struggling left fielders, hitting just .167 with a .276 on-base percentage coming in -- not exactly numbers a manager wants from his leadoff hitter.

"As soon as Knoblauch got hurt, the first thing I thought of was who is going to lead off," Zimmer said. "The first name that came to me was Curtis."