Specifically, it was seeing two fastballs inside during one plate appearance — the second of which was a 90 mph four-seamer that hit Gordon’s right wrist and forced him to leave the game — that had the leadoff hitter enraged.
“I was pissed off. It was the second time he threw up by my head,” Gordon said, according to The Seattle Times. “You’ve got to get the ball down. You can’t throw that pitch. I got a family. You need to get the ball, you need to get the ball the f— down. That’s twice. If you can’t throw that pitch, don’t throw it.”
The third-inning fastball that hit Gordon’s wrist caused immediate and visible discomfort. He removed his helmet and started walking around the area behind home plate at Yankee Stadium, shouting in obvious pain as a team trainer rushed out of the dugout to evaluate him.
After several moments spent determining whether Gordon would stay in the game — an eventual 3-1 win for the Yankees — the decision was made to remove him.
Initial tests were inconclusive. The Mariners will conduct further testing on Gordon’s wrist Friday, when they open a weekend series at Boston.
Following the injury, Gordon was replaced by Dylan Moore, who also has a wrist injury after getting hit by a pitch Wednesday. Moore played from the third inning until the eighth, when he was pinch hit for by Jay Bruce. In the next half inning, Edwin Encarnacion took Moore’s place in the field at second base, making his first career appearance there.
Encarnacion, too, had an injury scare when he dove for a ground ball that got by him in the inning. He remained in the game.
Gordon’s comments hadn’t become public when the Yankees’ clubhouse was open. For the few minutes Happ spoke to reporters, he wasn’t questioned about hitting Gordon with the pitch.
Still, Happ admitted to pitching Thursday with a little extra intensity and emotion as he came off a disappointing four-run, seven-hit outing in his previous start last Saturday against Minnesota. He came into Thursday trying to make up for that effort.
“I just held some frustration from that last start,” Happ said. “So I don’t know. Pitching with an edge or whatever you want to call it, but I was [definitely] focused out there, and I feel like that helped a little bit.”
He felt that edge helped him enjoy his best start of the season, a scoreless, five-plus-inning outing in which he gave up only one hit.
“He was pretty intense throughout that game,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s been fighting hard, I feel like. Really grinding, and even from late in spring training to early in the season, really just trying to find that way.”
Gordon has gotten off to a solid start, batting .304 with 19 RBIs, 14 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in his first 38 games.
During his first plate appearance Thursday, Gordon saw five pitches from Happ. Each one either stayed off the plate outside, or sat in the middle of the strike zone. He walked, and was later thrown out trying to steal second base.
The only two pitches he saw in his second plate appearance were inside. The first was an 89 mph two-seam fastball just below the belt that was called a strike. The second was the one up that hit him.