Sheppard misses Yanks home opener with hip injury

NEW YORK -- Public address announcer Bob Sheppard's distinctive voice was missing from the New York Yankees' home opener for the first time since 1950 because of a hip injury.

Sheppard threw out his left hip Monday night at his Long Island home, the Yankees said before Tuesday's game against Kansas City. He will miss the three-game series against the Royals and hopes to be back April 21.

"I am very disappointed," Sheppard said in a statement. "I am optimistic that I will return to the stadium for the next homestand."

Jim Hall, Sheppard's regular backup, announced in his place. Sheppard, who became the public address announcer in 1951, is thought to be in his 90s -- he won't give his age.

"I think he's closer to 100 than he is 90," Reggie Jackson said.

Jackson spoke with Sheppard's son to check on the announcer's condition.

"The fact that he's been here this long is pretty incredible," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Jackson mimicked Sheppard's "Voice of God" intonation, imagining the announcer ordering breakfast.

"Coffee ... cream ... one sugar," he said slowly.

Sheppard helped Jackson on drafts of his speeches for his Hall of Fame induction and number retirement ceremony, which were originally too long.

"He said, 'Less ... of ... you. Very ... hard ... for ... you,'" Jackson recalled, laughing.