The New York Yankees narrowly avoided a significant injury crisis during their series finale against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
Anthony Rizzo, the Bombers’ first baseman, has been indispensable to the team over the course of 53 games this season and is a player they simply can’t afford to lose.
The Yankees need Anthony Rizzo healthy:
Sporting a remarkable .304 batting average and a .376 on-base percentage, Rizzo has impressively hit 11 home runs and driven in 32 runs. Despite a career-high 23.1% strikeout rate, his 147 wRC+ ranks among the best on the team.
Additionally, his defensive performance at first base is notable, with a .992 fielding percentage, three defensive runs saved, and two outs above average.
However, a frightening incident occurred on Sunday when Fernando Tatís Jr. of the Padres accidentally kneed Rizzo in the face while trying to return on a pick-off attempt.
The medical staff conducted assessments on Rizzo to gauge the injury’s severity, but early signs suggest a favorable outcome.
“I would say at this point it looks that way,” Boone said. “He’s fine.”
The Yankees’ ace, Gerrit Cole, expressed resolute confidence that Rizzo would recover from the injury and endure.
At 33, Rizzo has been managing a persistent back injury, but his near-constant presence on the field this season indicates that he’s one of the team’s most dependable and effective players.
“He’s the toughest guy ever,” starter Gerrit Cole said. “Initially when he goes down, you know he’s probably in quite a bit of pain. But he’s tough, he’s gonna be fine in the long run.”
Should they have to replace Rizzo at first base, the Yankees would face a difficult scenario, likely needing to reposition DJ LeMahieu. Fortunately, it appears they’ve sidestepped such a catastrophe, and a day of rest on Monday will certainly be beneficial.