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07/23/10 1:17 AM ET

DeJesus out for series with thumb injury

Outfielder to fly to Cleveland to see hand specialist

NEW YORK -- Center fielder David DeJesus left Thursday night's game against the Yankees in the third inning with a sprained right thumb. X-rays on the thumb came back negative, but DeJesus will miss at least the remainder of this four-game series in New York.

DeJesus suffered the injury attempting to snag a deep fly ball off the bat of Derek Jeter in right-center field. DeJesus got his glove on the ball, but couldn't hang on when his wrist hit the wall and bent at an awkward angle. Jeter ended up with a game-tying inside-the-park home run in the Royals' 10-4 loss.

"After I caught it, I jammed it into the wall," DeJesus said while wearing a brace on his right hand and wrist after the game. "Coming down, I thought I still had it, and next you know, it rolled out. I thought it was my wrist at first, and then as I looked at my hand, I saw my thumb growing and I was like, 'Oh, no.' It's one of those things. That's the way I play, aggressive trying to make a play for Bruce [Chen]. It's one of those things where if it happens, it happens."

DeJesus will now fly to Cleveland where he will visit with a hand specialist to get a more exact diagnosis.

"I'm going to find out 100 percent," he said. "There's still too much 'It could be this, it could be that.' I want to know."

Rick Ankiel, the Royals' Opening Day center fielder who was just activated from the disabled list before the game, replaced DeJesus in center. Ankiel had not played in the field since April 24, and he went 0-for-3 at the plate with three strikeouts.

Ironically, Jeter's only other career inside-the-park home run came on Aug. 2, 1996, in Kansas City off Jeff Montgomery. On that play, Royals' center fielder Tom Goodwin injured his shoulder.

"It's a very gutsy effort," pitcher Bruce Chen said of DeJesus' play. "Hopefully he'll only miss a couple games. Whenever a guy is playing so hard for you and he gets injured, you feel bad. Hopefully he'll be OK because he's a very important piece for us to keep winning."

DeJesus has not been on the disabled list since 2006. If he is forced on to the DL, that will clear a roster spot for newly acquired right-handed pitcher Sean O'Sullivan. Ankiel was scheduled to return to the starting lineup in center on Friday with DeJesus sliding over to right. Instead, Mitch Maier and Willie Bloomquist will likely continue sharing the right-field duties until DeJesus returns.

DeJesus is batting .318 with five homers and 37 RBIs on the season for Kansas City.

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.