Play Ball!

Tonight’s contest with the Yankees marks just the second time in franchise history that the Blue Jays have opened the season against the Bronx Bombers. The first? It was back in 2003, as the Jays welcomed the Yankees to SkyDome for their 100th season opener — and first outside the United States. With Hideki Matsui making his Yankee debut, and aces Roy Halladay and Roger Clemens squaring off on the hill, it was a play in the third inning that became the storyline of the night.

Attempting to go from first to third on a comebacker by Jason Giambi, Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter suffered a dislocated left shoulder after diving into third. Catcher Ken Huckaby, who was covering the bag, fell on Jeter’s shoulder as the all-star attempted to dive in headfirst.

“I didn’t mean for things to go down the way they went down,” Huckaby said after the game. “By no means was I trying to hurt anybody on that play. It was one of those freak things.” In assessing the injury, Jeter said, “It hurts. I can’t really describe it. When it happened, I was kind of scared. I didn’t know what happened. The worst part is getting it back in.”

Jeter was on the ground for more than 10 minutes before being helped onto a cart and off the field. He was then taken to a hospital for X-rays. The Yankee shortstop would miss six weeks with the injury, returning to hit .324 (156-for-482) with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs in 119 games during the 2003 campaign.

On this night, with a healthy Jeter in the lineup, the Yankees open their 105th season — and last at historic Yankee Stadium — with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Blue Jays. Halladay takes the loss, allowing three runs in 7.0 innings of work. In their first games in a Toronto uniform, David Eckstein and Marco Scutaro combine to go 0-for-7.

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