It seemed like a routine decision by Aaron Boone to rest starting shortstop Didi Gregorius on Sunday afternoon after the Yankees clinched a playoff birth. Gregorius dove into home plate after an impressive sprint from first to home on a double by Aaron Hicks.
However, it would turn out to be the worst case scenario for the Yankees, who learned that the 28-year-old tore cartilage in his right wrist while sliding headfirst into home plate in the 11th inning Saturday night. He had an MRI Sunday morning, and also got a cortisone shot in that wrist.
“It’s really frustrating; now I’m not playing,” Gregorius told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com after Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles. “We’re going to take it day to day. We’ll see how far it goes, but I have some movement in there. They say things like this happen to other players. Some of them have played through it. We’re going to see how it goes.”
Losing a key starting infielder with the Wild Card game looming just nine days away is a brutal blow to the Bronx Bombers. It seemed they were just getting back to full strength, having gotten Gregorius, Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez and Aroldis Chapman back from various injuries.
Gregorius has been a huge bat for the Yankees this year, hitting .268/.336/.498 (122 wRC+) with 27 home runs and 86 RBIs. He missed 16 games after bruising his heel August 19 in a collision at first base against Toronto. He got off to a torrid start, hit a rough patch in May but has been hitting .286/.349/.510 (130 wRC+) since June 1.
Didi told reporters that he did not feel the injury immediately Saturday night or during the postgame celebration. He also mentioned that the tear was “small,” and that he was doing everything in his power to be on the field as the postseason approaches.
Boone issued the bad news after Sunday’s loss, and said the team was “unsure” how long the injury could hamper his shortstop. He spoke on what the team expects, including whether the Yankees would get Gregorius back:
“There’s a real possibility we do. There’s also a possibility that we don’t,” Boone said. “We’ll know a lot more in a few days when we see how the wrist responds to the cortisone shot.”
With Gregorius likely to sit, the Yankees will likely give Adeiny Hechavarria more playing time at shortstop. They will likely try a double-play combination of Gleyber Torres at shortstop and Neil Walker at second base if the prognosis for Gregorius is worse than expected.
As the team heads to Tampa Bay for the penultimate series of the regular season, the Yankees and their fans have their fingers crossed for a good prognosis on Didi’s wrist.