Torii Hunter would not go so far as to say that Mark Teixeira’s bone-crushing slide that sent Angels catcher Bobby Wilson to a hospital Friday night was dirty. But there was something about the play that just didn’t sit right with the Angels center fielder.
“The plate was open — I think he could have been safe just sliding in,” Hunter said. “You can look at the tape over and over and say the play was clean or it was not right. It’s baseball.”
Teixeira was scoring from second on Robinson Cano’s single to right in the third inning. The throw from the outfield took a bad hop toward the third-base side of the plate, carrying Wilson, who was attempting to catch and tag, into the path of the onrushing Teixeira.
Teixeira, who reached when he was hit by a fastball from Ervin Santana, thought Wilson had the ball and was trying to block the plate, so he lowered his left shoulder as he slid and plowed violently into Wilson, who never gained possession of the ball.
Wilson suffered a concussion and an ankle injury and was put on the 15-day disabled list after the game, his roster spot filled Saturday by triple-A catcher Ryan Budde.
X-rays of Wilson’s ankle were inconclusive because of swelling. The catcher is to be reevaluated Sunday or Monday and probably will have an MRI test Monday.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, the former Dodgers catcher who was on the receiving end of several similar hits, called the slide clean, but Santana thought Teixeira may have been mad after getting hit on the back by a 91-mph fastball.
“You’re always going to protect your own; that’s the bottom line,” said Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, also a former catcher. “Mark’s intention was not to hurt him, it was to score. If Mark sees the ball come up, he probably slides. I feel bad for the kid. I’ve been there.”
After the game, Teixeira felt “terrible” and said it “makes me sick” to know he injured Wilson.
He tried calling the catcher Friday night, but “he was on the way back [from the hospital] the first time,” Teixeira said. “The second time, he was in the trainers’ room. I sent over about five messages with five different people letting him know I hope he’s all right.”
Girardi was asked if Teixeira should have helped Wilson up after flattening the catcher.
“We’re playing for something,” Girardi said. “This is not a family-reunion softball game. Tex is not trying to hurt anyone. Tex is trying to score a run. I don’t ever remember anyone helping me up.”
It did not have a bearing on the Angels’ 7-1 loss Saturday, but Mike Napoli broke one of baseball’s cardinal rules when he made the first out of the third inning at third base.
The Angels catcher singled to open the inning and tried to take third on Brandon Wood’s single to left-center. But Napoli hesitated slightly around second, and Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner made a strong one-hop throw to nail Napoli at third.
Bobby Abreu later singled in the inning, so the gamble probably cost the Angels a run. But when asked if he was OK with Napoli’s decision, Scioscia, who endorses aggressive baserunning, said, “Absolutely.”
Staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.