Yankees' Eric Chavez breaks toe

DETROIT -- Third baseman Eric Chavez suffered what the New York Yankees called "a small fracture" of the fifth metatarsal of his left foot and will be lost to the team for an indeterminate length of time.

Chavez suffered the break to the bone that connects the pinkie toe to the ankle while running out an RBI triple in the fourth inning of Thursday's 6-3 Yankees loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Chavez flew back to New York before the game was over to consult with Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad and was not available for comment.

"We won't know until he sees Dr. Ahmad and then I don't know if he'll have to go see a foot guy," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll have to wait and see what they say but he's got a broken foot, so unless he's Superman, he's not playing."

The injury is somewhat similar to the one suffered during in March by Francisco Cervelli, who fouled a ball off his left foot in a spring training game. Cervelli needed nearly two months to heal and missed the fist month of the regular season.

Chavez had earned a spot on the roster as a backup infielder and DH by hitting .395 with a home run and four RBI in spring training after suffering through three injury-shortened seasons with the Oakland Athletics. He was batting .303 with a triple, two doubles and five RBI in 16 regular-season games at the time of his injury.

"When you work so hard to get back and you come back from surgeries, to have something like this on a positive play where you hit a triple, it's a bad thing," Girardi said. "He was frustrated."

It was unclear exactly when Chavez, who was playing in place of Alex Rodriguez, got hurt. His sinking liner to right-center eluded the dive of centerfielder Don Kelly, scoring Curtis Granderson with the Yankees' first run of the game, but by the time Chavez reached third, he was laboring and it was obvious he was in pain.

He was assisted off the field by Girardi and assistant trainer Steve Donahue and replaced on the basepaths by Rodriguez, whom Girardi had hoped to give a day off.

"That's a big blow for us," said Rodriguez, who had not entered a game as a pinch runner since June 19, 1995, when he was a 19-year-old Seattle Mariner. "Eric provided a lot of depth for our team. When he was in there, we felt like we weren't losing a lot, that we have a very capable guy out there. Now we just have to bounce back from that."

Girardi said he did not know who would replace Chavez on the roster, but did not rule out the possibility of promoting Jorge Vazquez from Triple-A Scranton. Vazquez had an even better spring than Chavez -- .412, three HRs, eight RBIs – and is hitting .302 with nine homers and 27 RBIs in 25 games at Scranton.

"I'm sure he's a guy that we're going to consider," Girardi said. "I know that he's swung the bat well in Triple A, and he's definitely under consideration."

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.