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Freak injury sidelines Yankees 3B Chavez with whiplash and possible concussion

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It looked routine enough.

New York Yankees third baseman Eric Chavez did what he probably did hundreds of times in his six Gold Glove-winning career: dove for a ball down the third base line.

This time, what looked like a simple, routine dive could land Chavez on the disabled list.

Chavez suffered whiplash and a possible concussion diving for a double off the bat of J.J Hardy in the top of the fifth inning in New York’s disappointing 5-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

The Yankee reserve left the game during his at-bat in the bottom of the frame after telling the Yankees staff that he felt dizzy.

Chavez was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital for further tests.

He was not on the team plane to Kansas City. His status for the series against the Kansas City Royals is uncertain.

“He's got whiplash,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Wednesday. “He will not travel with us tonight. Will we have to make a move? I can't tell you. At some point we're going to have to make a move, but I can't tell you if it's for him or someone else.”

Issues with the team’s suspect starting pitching has forced Girardi to keep 13 pitchers, leaving just three bench players on a good day. With Nick Swisher out with a hamstring injury, New York was carrying just two game-ready reserves on Wednesday: Eduardo Nunez and light-hitting catcher Chris Stewart.

Once Chavez left the game, Nunez went to third and the Yanks were just down to their backup catcher.

New York had hoped to get Brett Gardner back from an elbow injury when they opened their four-game set at Kauffman Stadium. However, the team’s official website reports that that may be pushed back a few days. The Yankees also had hoped to hold Swisher out of the Kansas City series entirely.

Thus, the suddenly struggling Bombers have a bit of a conundrum to deal with when they get to the “Show Me State.”

New York can elect to disable Chavez or option pitcher D.J. Mitchell to the minors and recall either an infielder or an outfielder from Class AAA Scranton.

Infield options include 3B Brandon Laird and SS Ramiro Pena, both of whom are on the Yankees’ 40-man roster. Of the two, Pena has seen some limited time in the Yankees outfield, playing parts of four games there for the big club in 2010.

Both Pena and Laird have similar numbers this season. Pena is batting .250 with a homer and seven RBI while Laird is batting .253 with a homer and 12 RBI.

If the Yankees go strictly the outfield route, one option is Dewayne Wise, who is batting .347 with four homers and 10 RBIs this season. However, Wise is not on the 40-man roster and the Yankees’ 40-man roster is full.

Of course, the Bombers could move Michael Pineda from the 15-day to the 60-day DL in order to make room for Wise on the 40-man. Pineda is out for at least one calendar year after undergoing shoulder surgery on May 1.

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