Yankees’ Alex Verdugo scratched from lineup with left leg contusion

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees had an unfortunate update regarding outfielder Alex Verdugo, as he’ll be sidelined from this afternoon’s game. against the Detroit Tigers with a left leg contusion. It’s unclear whether the 27-year-old outfielder will miss multiple games in Spring Training or undergo any testing, but the initial report of a contusion isn’t serious enough to press the panic button. Verdugo, who was acquired by the Yankees this winter in a trade with the Boston Red Sox, is slated to be their starting left fielder this season.

He was hit by a pitch yesterday, and this could be a precautionary measure to make sure that the injury doesn’t worsen, which is common in Spring Training games where winning and losing have no bearing on the team.

Yankees Dealing With Outfield Injury

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 20, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Alex Verdugo (24) waits for his turn to run at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Verdugo was scheduled to play in this afternoon’s contest against the Detroit Tigers, but after being hit by a pitch yesterday, was scratched with a left leg contusion. The left-handed outfielder has been known to play through injuries with the Boston Red Sox, but given the fact that the team is currently in Spring Training still, pushing any injury would be unwise as it could worsen the initial situation. It’s unclear whether this is a precautionary measure or an injury that could sideline Verdugo for Opening Day.

The Yankees have already got some injury news on infielder Oswald Peraza, as it was reported earlier this week that he was dealing with a shoulder issue that had sidelined him for a few days as well. He’s progressing well and is expected to start throwing across the diamond soon, as he gets back into the battle for a reserve role in the Yankees’ infield. His injury was considered a day-to-day one and the team didn’t express much concern about it, citing it more as a precautionary measure.

In the case of Alex Verdugo, that very well may be the case based on the initial diagnosis, although that’s speculatory.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Oct 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Oswald Peraza (91) bats against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Contusions are injuries to the skin or muscle, which could be as simple as a bruise, and this is the time of year when teams are extra careful with these kinds of situations. Playing a Spring Training game and risking an even more severe injury would be malpractice and could cost the team during the season, and they preach caution during this time of the season. It’s still an unfortunate update given the fact that healing isn’t always guaranteed, and there’s always going to be a scare about an injury, especially after last season.

When the Yankees were ravaged by injury last season, it cost the team multiple wins and is the main reason they missed out on the postseason, but the depth this year’s team has should keep them afloat. If this injury for Alex Verdugo were to get worse, the team could turn to two-time Gold Glove winner Trent Grisham to hold things down in the outfield for now, and Jasson Dominguez is on the way as well. Everson Pereira could also be viewed as MLB depth that the team could turn to in left field, although he’ll have to prove himself more at the Major League level.

As more updates come out we’ll know more about the timeline of the injury, but the initial reports don’t reveal anything that would require pressing the panic button (yet).

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