CLEVELAND (AP) -The New York Yankees' 13th straight trip to the postseason started with a stumble.
First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz got tangled up with a cameraman and injured his left ankle in an accident, but was in the starting lineup Thursday night for the Yankees' playoff opener against the Cleveland Indians.
Mientkiewicz was walking up a ramp at Jacobs Field when a YES cameraman was recording while backpedaling.
``My left foot was up, and he fell kind of right on the back of my heel. My ankle rolled,'' Mientkiewicz said. ``It's going to deter (me) from stealing like 15 bases.
``I rolled it pretty good, but it's all right.''
Yankees manager Joe Torre had Mientkiewicz work out on the ankle a few hours before game time.
``We tested him every which way, up and down,'' Torre said. ``He ran in the outfield and he looked fine during batting practice. It's not going to hurt his speed, we know that.''
Mientkiewicz had to have a screw inserted into the ankle after he broke it years ago. Initially, he was worried after the accident.
``I thought I was dead (as far as playing),'' he said. ``I've had a lot of damage to that left foot.''
In the lineup primarily for his defense, Mientkiewicz has the second-highest fielding percentage (.996) among first basemen with 500 or more career games and won a Gold Glove in 2001.
He said he felt bad for the cameraman.
``I don't want him to get fired. Accidents happen, especially for me. Everything happens to me,'' Mientkiewicz said.
Mientkiewicz injured his wrist June 2 in a collision with Boston's Mike Lowell. He had surgery and returned to the Yankees Sept. 1 and hit .429 (18-for-42) with a home run and eight RBIs in 22 games during the season's final month.
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