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05/09/07 11:45 PM ET
Tejeda's rough start dooms Rangers
Young day-to-day after leaving with right hamstring tightness
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- When the Rangers took the field in the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday night, both shortstop Michael Young and starting pitcher Robinson Tejeda were out of the game. That's never a good thing, and a bad night never got better for the Rangers. Tejeda, still extremely concerned about the health of his right arm, allowed four runs in the first inning, and the Rangers really never recovered, once again losing to the New York Yankees, 6-2, at Yankee Stadium. The Rangers have lost the first two games of this series, five straight to the Yankees this season and eight straight to New York going back to last year. Young left the game with tightness in his right hamstring, and manager Ron Washington said that Young will not start on Thursday. Young hasn't been out of the lineup since June 21-22, 2005, when his son, Mateo, was born. "I'm going to be fine," Young said. "If I was pressed, I could post up and play tomorrow. But Wash thinks it's in our best interests to give me a blow." Tejeda? That's the mystery. He sat glumly in his chair in front of his locker after the game and was asked if his arm was hurt. "I don't know," he said quietly. But it was obvious from the beginning of Wednesday's game that Tejeda was tentative on the mound and far from the aggressive, confident pitcher who had been the Rangers' best starter through the first five weeks of the season. "It was like I was little bit scared to throw the ball," Tejeda said. "Things were bothering me a little bit, and I got it in my mind that I didn't want to hurt myself. I was trying to throw the ball and not get hurt." That's a tough thing to do. "In the first inning, he wasn't sure what was coming out of his arm," Washington said. "After that, he started settling down. "He's a young kid, and he doesn't have a lot of confidence unless everything is right. He wasn't sure what was coming out of his hand, and the other team took advantage of it. After that, he started throwing the ball good." Yankees designated hitter Johnny Damon opened the first inning by reaching on an infield single and scored on Bobby Abreu's double into the left-center-field gap. Abreu went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Derek Jeter's single to center. Jeter then stole second, and Alex Rodriguez walked. Hideki Matsui doubled into the right-field corner to score one run, and Robinson Cano's grounder to second scored Rodriguez. "When you're trying to release the ball and things aren't working well, it's tough," Tejeda said. "You want to pitch and win the game, but if you don't have a good feeling, it's tough." Tejeda held the Yankees scoreless in the second and third innings, while the Rangers scored two off Yankees starter Mike Mussina in the third. But Tejeda couldn't get through the fourth, as a couple of plays went against him after Doug Mientkiewicz led off with a double and was bunted to third by Wil Nieves. Tejeda thought that he struck out Damon on a full-count inside fastball, but home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called it ball four. Tejeda showed his displeasure on the mound, and catcher Chris Stewart and Washington had to intervene with the umpire for Tejeda. "He felt like he made a pitch and didn't get a call," Washington said of Tejeda. Damon walked and stole second, the ball getting knocked loose from second baseman Ian Kinsler's glove as it arrived at the same time the runner. "Tough play," Washington said. "If Ian could have held on, it would have been awesome. If we could have gotten out of that inning, it would have been great." Abeu popped out, but Jeter lined a two-run single to give the Yankees a 6-2 lead. Tejeda's night was over. Tejeda, who has been bothered by a sore left hamstring as well as the aches and pains of his right arm, was given an extra day of rest for this start. He'll get at least one extra day of rest before his next start, because Kevin Millwood will come off the disabled list on Monday. That will give Tejeda's arm and hamstring time to rest. But it is obvious that his psyche could use some soothing as well. The Rangers don't think that Tejeda is seriously hurt. But he needs to be convinced of that as well. "He'll get it back together," Washington said. "Because of what he's feeling, he doesn't have enough experience to realize there's not anything wrong."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.