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Wednesday, Apr. 4 7:05pm ET
Pettitte in control in his season opener

NEW YORK (AP) – The Kansas City Royals thought they'd absorbed a hard hit when David Justice launched a grand slam.

Later, they barely avoided a real disaster.

All-Star right fielder Jermaine Dye and second baseman Carlos Febles were forced to leave after a frightening collision Wednesday night in the Royals' 8-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

Jermaine Dye
Kansas City's Jermaine Dye, right, and second baseman Carlos Febles collided after chasing down a fly ball in the six inning. Both players are 'probable' for Thursday's game.

"People say we're lucky to be able to walk after what happened," Febles said.

Dye wound up with a mild concussion and a banged-up nose while Febles bruised his right knee. Royals manager Tony Muser said both "probably" could play Thursday afternoon against the Yankees.

The trouble came in the sixth inning when Bernie Williams hit a soft fly down the right-field line. Dye, Febles and first baseman Dave McCarty gave chase at full speed.

As the ball began to fall, McCarty veered off. Dye and Febles kept going.

"I didn't call for it and I don't know if he did. With the fans yelling, you can't hear," Dye said. "When you get two bodies going as fast as we were going, you hope it doesn't come down to a collision. But most of the time, it does."

As Dye got ready to make an off-balance, basket catch, Febles ran right over him.

Febles' head and chest hit Dye in the head, and both players went flying. Dye somehow managed to hold onto the ball for the second out, and he handed it to McCarty before rolling back onto the ground.

"I don't know how I caught it. I just heard McCarty saying, `Give me the ball,"' Dye said.

Muser and head trainer Nick Swartz bolted from the dugout, and several Yankees came out of the dugout to watch. Febles and Dye were down for a couple minutes before walking off, attended by their teammates.

"I was dazed. I knew I hit something and I hit the ground," Dye said.

Febles said, "I just felt myself down," and was dizzy for a moment.

"Boy, it was scary," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Andy Pettitte pitched the unbeaten Yankees to their second straight win. New York left fielder Chuck Knoblauch picked up his first assist and first error at his new position.

Pettitte (1-0) was in total control, allowing six hits in seven innings. Given an early 8-0 lead, he gave up Mark Quinn's home run in the fifth.

Royals starter Blake Stein (0-1) had a rough day all around.

Stein rushed back home after the Royals' loss in the opener Monday to join his wife, Ellen, for the birth of the couple's first child, Corinne Elise, in Shawnee, Kan., late that night.

Stein's flight back to New York on Wednesday was delayed, and he arrived in the city in mid-afternoon. The Yankees made it a short night for him.

Knoblauch singled to start the first, Alfonso Soriano doubled and Williams hit a two-run double. An RBI single by Tino Martinez and a wild pitch made it 4-0.

Stein walked the bases loaded in the second, and Justice hit his fifth career grand slam.

"I really was just trying to get a base hit, get a couple of runs home," Justice said.

After his sixth walk, Stein was pulled.

"I'm not going to use any of what I went through as an excuse," Stein said. "I got enough sleep last night. When I got to the stadium, my mind was focused. I wasn't tired."

"I was just terrible," he said.

Knoblauch fielded a carom in short left field and threw out Carlos Beltran as he tried to stretch a single in the fourth. In the eighth, Knoblauch misplayed Beltran's RBI single.

"I was trying to hurry to get the ball back into the infield," Knoblauch said of the error.

Game notes
Soriano's double in the first produced a strange sight: two balls on the field at the same time during a play. His grounder skipped past third base and into foul territory, where it rolled under an attendant's stool and knocked another ball loose. Unable to immediately tell which one was live, umpire Tim Welke immediately ruled a dead ball. ... Roger Clemens' next start is expected to be pushed back a day to Sunday against Toronto. His right wrist, struck by Febles' comebacker Monday, is still stiff and sore. ... Mike Mussina makes his Yankees debut Thursday vs. the Royals. ... The Royals lost despite outhitting the Yankees 8-7.

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