LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The New York Yankees suffered a potentially devastating blow on Wednesday when a CT scan revealed a chip fracture in the right wrist of reliever Andrew Miller, the result of being hit by a line drive in the seventh inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves.
X-rays taken earlier had come back negative, so the Yankees believed they had dodged a bullet with Miller, who was expected to serve as their closer while Aroldis Chapman serves a 30-game suspension for his role in an alleged domestic violence incident.
But the Yankees sent out a press release announcing the injury at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night. The Yankees said Miller will be evaluated by a hand specialist to determine the next course of action. They did not say how long Miller is expected to be out.
The injury occurred on Miller's first and only pitch of the game, which was lined back at him by Braves pinch-hitter Willians Astudillo. The ball hit Miller on the glove hand but caught enough of Miller's bare arm that he immediately left the mound on impact, in obvious pain. As he neared the Yankees dugout, Miller threw his glove and his hat onto the ground in frustration.
"It was scary," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You see a guy leave the mound like that and you worry. That doesn't say that there's something definitely broken, but it said it really hurt."
Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, who came into the game when Miller left, said he saw Miller in the clubhouse before he left the ballpark and said Miller seemed less concerned about the injury than he appeared to be immediately after it happened.
"When he was in here talking to me, he seemed all right," Betances said. "I saw his hand, I saw his wrist. It was a little bruised, but it didn't look like no swelling or anything. It's his glove-hand side, obviously. If it's his throwing arm, then it's a little more scary I think."
The Yankees were depending upon Miller to close for them until Chapman returns from his suspension on May 9. Last season, Miller converted 36 of 38 save opportunities for the Yankees in his first season as a full-time closer. Betances, who served as his setup man, also collected nine saves in 2015 when Miller was on the disabled list with a forearm strain.
"We went without Miller last year for a month," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "You want to be with everybody at all times, but it's not the way the game works."
The Yankees pitching staff suffered another potential blow when Bryan Mitchell, who had been among their most effective pitchers this spring and on Tuesday had been told he had made the team, injured the big toe on his left foot covering first base on the last out of the eighth inning.
Mitchell limped into the Yankees clubhouse after leaving the game and left with a wrapping on his foot. He headed back to Tampa for an MRI. Mitchell said he "overstretched" his toes pushing off the mound.
"I honestly don't know what to feel right now," Mitchell said. "Hopefully this is just a little hiccup. I'm just trying to stay positive and hopefully when I wake up tomorrow it feels 10 times better than it does now."
Said Girardi, who earlier in the day had expressed relief that his team had apparently gotten through spring training without any serious injuries: "It's frustrating when you get to this point and something happens. You know it's part of the game, and you try to avoid it and prepare for it as much as you can. But sometimes things just happen."