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Thursday, October 4, 2007
Mientkiewicz injured by cameraman, still starts for Yankees vs. Indians

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Doug Mientkiewicz lasted just four innings. The cameraman was done even sooner.

The Yankees first baseman accidentally got tangled up with a TV cameraman and injured his left ankle hours before the New York's playoff opener Thursday night against the Cleveland Indians.

Mientkiewicz, who's had problems with that ankle in the past, started the game. He popped out in his only at-bat and was replaced by pinch-hitter Shelly Duncan in the fifth inning of New York's 12-3 loss.

"He came out because we were down in the game and I was trying to get something started," manager Joe Torre said. "He was limping a little bit after he came out, but hopefully he'll be all right. Hopefully."

The cameraman, a freelancer hired from the Cleveland area, was fired by the YES Network. The network did not reveal his name.

The accident occurred while Mientkiewicz was walking up a ramp at Jacobs Field. The cameraman was recording while backpedaling.

"My left foot was up, and he fell kind of right on the back of my heel. My ankle rolled," Mientkiewicz said before the game. "It's going to deter [me] from stealing like 15 bases.

"I rolled it pretty good, but it's all right."

Torre was satisfied with Mientkiewicz's condition after a pregame workout.

"We tested him every which way, up and down," Torre said. "He ran in the outfield and he looked fine during batting practice. It's not going to hurt his speed, we know that."

Mientkiewicz had to have a screw inserted into the ankle after he broke it years ago. Initially, he was worried after the accident.

"I thought I was dead [as far as playing]," he said. "I've had a lot of damage to that left foot."

YES spokesman Eric Handler said the cameraman had completed his shoot and had been told to shut down.

"Unbeknownst to us he continued to shoot," Handler said. "Because he did not follow instructions, and because it was his not following instructions that caused the accident, he was relieved of his duties."

In the lineup primarily for his defense, Mientkiewicz has the second-highest fielding percentage (.996) among first basemen with 500 or more career games and won a Gold Glove in 2001.

He said he felt bad for the cameraman.

"I don't want him to get fired. Accidents happen, especially for me. Everything happens to me," Mientkiewicz said.

Mientkiewicz injured his wrist June 2 in a collision with Boston's Mike Lowell. He had surgery and returned to the Yankees Sept. 1 and hit .429 (18-for-42) with a home run and eight RBIs in 22 games during the season's final month.