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A-Rod hit by errant ball; CT scan negative
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Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Yankees had a scare -- but apparently nothing more -- when third baseman Alex Rodriguez was hit in the face by a deflected ball and left Wednesday night's spring training game against the Boston Red Sox.

The reigning AL Most Valuable Player was taken to the hospital as a precaution. A CT scan was negative, and he was diagnosed with a bruised left cheekbone.


"I'm very fortunate," said Rodriguez, who is not expected to miss Thursday's flight to Tokyo for the Yankees' March 30 regular-season opener. "I have no doubts I'm going."

Brian Daubach was on first base when Keven Millar doubled to left field. Hideki Matsui fielded the ball and threw to third, but it hit Daubach on the leg as he slid and ricocheted into Rodriguez's face below his left eye.

Yankees trainer Gene Monahan ran out to tend to Rodriguez and lead him off the field.

"He thought he got hit by a knee. That's how hard it was," Yankees manager Joe Torre said after the Yankees beat Boston 8-6 to sweep the two-game exhibition series. "He didn't know what it was."

"It got him good," Red Sox third base coach Dale Sveum said. "It wasn't a grazing blow at all. You could hear it. You know it hit flesh."

When he spoke to reporters in the Yankees clubhouse later in the game, Rodriguez's cheek was swollen and reddened under his left eye. He said he had no problems seeing.

It was "a freak thing. I don't remember much about the play," Rodriguez said after doctors checked him out. "I feel pretty good now. I just felt like I got my bells rung pretty good. I'm very fortunate."

Rodriguez said he was thinking of a high school injury in 1993, when he was hit in the face by an errant throw that went into the dugout. That one broke his cheekbone.

"I did flash back," he said. "My first inclination was to see if I lost any teeth."

It all happened against the Red Sox, the team that tried and failed to land Rodriguez this winter when the Texas Rangers wanted to unload him and the rest of his record-setting, $252 million salary. Boston wanted him to take a pay cut; the Yankees eventually got the Rangers to take Alfonso Soriano and $67 million of the $179 million remaining on Rodriguez's contract.

Because the Yankees already had Derek Jeter at shortstop, Rodriguez moved to third base from his natural position.

The Yankees were scheduled to play the Phillies in Clearwater on Thursday and then leave for Tokyo, where they will play the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in two exhibition games March 28 and 29 and two regular-season games March 30 and 31. Rodriguez was not scheduled to play against Philadelphia on Thursday, so he will work out at the team's complex before the flight.

"Everything is good. We're lucky," Torre said. "It shouldn't be any problem."

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