Yankees face oddest health issue in injury-riddled year

NEW YORK — The New York Yankees have been able to overcome a record-setting number of injuries this season in their quest to capture World Series title No. 28 — and the wildest injury of all didn’t even happen to a player.

Pat Murtaugh, a pro scout with 30 years of experience, is currently advancing one of the other AL playoff hopefuls, trying to help the Yankees gain even the slightest edge should the two teams meet in October.

Given what happened to Murtaugh a few weeks ago, he’s fortunate to still be preparing for the postseason.

An urgent care trip revealed a surprising illness — caused by a black widow bite — that turned into emergency surgery, none of which stopped this Yankees scout from doing his job. Not even for a day. It’s a story that proves just how dedicated baseball scouts are to their craft. Especially when the postseason is right around the corner.

The story starts in Arizona, in the third inning a minor-league game he was assigned to cover. Murtaugh, who turned 61 on Sunday, felt something on the inside of his left thigh.

“I just thought I’d been standing too long, so I did some squats and stretched out a little bit,” Murtaugh told Yahoo Sports. “When I woke up the next day, I had a knot on the inside of my thigh, but there wasn’t any discoloration or anything like that.”

Murtaugh visited with a team trainer who wasn’t sure what it was — perhaps an insect bite. He then had it checked out in Phoenix, and the doctor there thought it might’ve been a spider bite, “but it really hadn’t discolored yet.”

Murtaugh flew to Tennessee to cover his next minor-league game featuring the Greeneville Reds — and his condition worsened significantly. His thigh now contained a really dark circle. He began to experience flu-like symptoms. His neck was stiff. His joints were achy. He woke up the following morning and felt horrible. The dark circle had gotten bigger. His wife told him he’d better get it checked out.

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