NEW YORK (AP) — Lance Berkman lay flat on his back on the warning track behind first base as a hushed Yankee Stadium crowd watched nervously.
Berkman thought he hit his head in the fourth inning of Game 5 of the AL championship series. Everyone else was worried that the New York Yankees lost another first baseman Wednesday, a day after Gold Glover Mark Teixeira went down with a strained right hamstring.
Teixeira is out for the playoffs. Berkman is sore his from head to rear end.
“You always worry about getting a concussion,” said Berkman, who had his lower backs wrapped in a bandage. But it’s not the case, so other than that, it’s just a spill.”
Berkman wiped out on the red-clay colored warning track while chasing a foul popup. His head snapped back as he slipped hard onto his back near the stands.
The switch-hitter rolled over onto his stomach as the Yankees came out to check on him. After a few tense moments he caught his breath, then got to his feet and remained in the game.
“I overran the ball just a hair. I tried to stop to catch it and my feet just came out from under me,” he said. “I was looking up for the ball and the next thing I know I was flat on my back looking up at the sky.”
After the half inning, Berkman said trainers used smelling salts on him in the dugout then he changed his cleats from the plastic ones he used most of the year to a pair with metal spikes.
“It felt like I got lit up in football,” Berkman said.
Berkman had started seven games at first since coming to New York from Houston at the July 31 trade deadline before Wednesday and has played 717 games there in his career.
It’s a big responsibility. Clearly you can’t fill a guys shoes like Tex,” Berkman said. “It’s an opportunity to be able to play and be in there regardless of who’s pitching. … Personal stuff aside it’s about helping this team try to win.”
With the Yankees’ 7-2 victory Berkman will likely get the start again Game 6 Friday night in Texas.
“He’s probably going to need some treatment and we are going to have to get him ready for Friday,” Girardi said.
Berkman batted sixth and went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and scored a run.
Infielder Eduardo Nunez replaced Teixeira on the roster before Game 5. Should the Yankees win the final two games to win the best-of-seven ALCS, Teixeira would not be eligible for the World Series. Teixeira said the injury will need six to eight weeks to heal.
Robinson Cano moved up to Teixeira’s No. 3 spot in the lineup and homered in four at-bats.
“It’s as good as it gets,” Girardi said. “Robby has been big in our lineup all year and he has been big in the post season. He’s swung the bat extremely well, and it just seems like he’s getting the barrel of the bat to the ball all the time.
Cano is hitting .429 with four homers and five RBIs in the series.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.