BALTIMORE — Brian McCann returned to the lineup Sunday, one day sooner than expected.
The catcher, who suffered a hyperextended left elbow Wednesday night, was expected back Monday. But his backup, Austin Romine, was banged up Saturday night, forcing McCann to come back early.
“I was leaning toward that,” Joe Girardi said of giving McCann one more day off. “But I think Mac’s probably in a better position than Romine today.”
Romine left Saturday night’s game after being injured while taking warm-up throws from Aroldis Chapman before the bottom of the ninth. A wayward slider bounced in the dirt, bounced up and bent back the nail on his glove hand. “A little black and blue, but he said he could play today,” Girardi said.
Girardi said he had never seen a catcher suffer that kind of injury, one Romine had characterized as “weird.” “And I hope I never see it again,” Girardi said.
Another first for Refsnyder
Rob Refsnyder made a second straight start at first base, after never playing a game there at any professional level, and had no issues in the field. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and grounded into two double plays.
Orioles catcher Francisco Peña, the 26-year-old son of Yankees first-base coach Tony Peña, preceded Matt Wieter’s go-ahead hit in the eighth with a single off Chapman. “I know he’s not happy,” Francisco told Baltimore reporters afterward, “but I’m sure my dad is proud.”
Before the game, Tony, who turned 59 Saturday, called Sunday “a special day” but left no doubt about his loyalties. “You want your kid to do well, but at the end, it’s about results, and we want to win,” he said. “I’m a New York Yankee, he’s a Baltimore Oriole. We want to win.”
Outfielder Michael O’Neill, the 23-year-old nephew of former Yankee Paul O’Neill, was promoted to Double-A Trenton from high Class A Tampa on Sunday. O’Neill had a .276/.333/.394 slash line with two homers and 10 RBIs in 35 games.