After avoiding a catcher catastrophe, Gregorius heading to the DL could mean the Yankees have a major problem.
It happened in the blink of an eye, as so many baseball injuries do. While trying to beat out a grounder, Didi Gregorius collided with Toronto first baseman Kendry Morales who was trying to pick a throw wide of the base. At first, Gregorius appeared to have suffered nothing worse than a mild ache as he stayed in the game. He made a trip around the bases to score. He even took the field the next inning. Then became evident that he was dealing with more than a minor ache as the following inning saw Gleyber Torres taking over at short with Ronald Torreyes at second. Gregorious took a ride to the hospital.
The latest word from NJ Advance Media is that Yankees manager Aaron Boone reported that Gregorius has a badly bruised heel and may do a stint on the disabled list. If that is the case, the Yankees have serious problems. After dodging a bullet with catcher Austin Romine taking a foul ball to the chin, losing Gregorius for even as little as ten days has the potential to not only hurt on the field, but cause some depth chart and flexibility issues as well.
Part of the problem is that Gary Sanchez is still not back, and when he is, there is no telling how game ready he will actually be. In order to make room for him, Kyle Higashioka will have to go down to AAA, making Romine the backup again. That means that Torreyes is still the third catcher, meaning if Sanchez doesn’t have his game legs and needs Romine to spell him defensively, Romine cannot get hurt or be lifted because the third catcher will be playing second base. Granted, the scenario seems unlikely, but unlikely happens all the time in baseball, and the Yankees are having a season full of unlikely events and injuries.
Of course Neil Walker can play second, but he’s been playing right field while Giancarlo Stanton is resting his leg, and swinging to first to spell Greg Bird who is still not all the way out of his funk at the plate. Stanton says he is ready to play the field, but when dealing with the highest paid player in baseball’s health, erring to the side of caution is the standard protocol. Tyler Wade could come up from AAA to play short for a week, but the offense is likely to suffer heavily. The good side of Wade, however, is he’s better defensively than Torres or Torreyes.
Fortunately the Yankees have two days off over the next ten, so that helps minimize how many games Gregorius would miss if he does land on the DL. Under normal circumstances, losing him for that short of a time would be manageable for Boone, but given the time of year, and concerns over everyone on the DL rehabbing on schedule and returning ready to play full-out, the loss of any starter, much less the anchor of the infield, is a major concern. For now, however, the Yankees are waiting to see how he looks if the swelling goes down, and holding off on any roster moves until they are absolutely necessary.
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