Well, another World Baseball Classic has rolled around, and with it has come another notable Yankees injury from the WBC. They do not seem to have much luck with the event. Four years ago, Mark Teixeira’s 2013 was ruined by a popped wrist in WBC batting practice that later required surgery, which also likely impacted his sluggish 2014. Now, Didi Gregorius is headed back to Tampa due to a hematoma of the subcapsular muscle, per Anthony Rieber. They’re both fluky injuries that could occur in spring training too, but that’s an unfortunate coincidence.
Bryan Hoch reported that the Yankees shortstop returned to the team yesterday, underwent MRIs, and will go through more tests tomorrow. The bright side is that at first glance, this injury does not seem to be as bad as it did at first when reporters were only tweeting about a vague “shoulder injury.” Hematomas suck, but they’re essentially bad bruises and far less severe than shoulder injuries like the one Greg Bird had last year, which required season-ending surgery.
The worst-case scenario is probably Gregorius missing some time that stretches into the very beginning of the season. Fortunately, the Yankees are still 13 days away from Opening Day, so ideally, that should give him enough time to heal and get ready in time.
If Gregorius does need a quick 10-day DL stint, then the Yankees have a couple options for what to do at shortstop. They could shift Starlin Castro over and use a combination of Rob Refsnyder and Ronald Torreyes at second base. They could also simply roll with Torreyes at shortstop since he can play there as well and perhaps put one of Tyler Wade, Ruben Tejada, or Pete Kozma on the Opening Day roster to give them a shortstop backup beyond just Castro. Top prospect Gleyber Torres is tempting, but he has yet to play above A-ball; there’s no need to rush him, particularly with another good infield prospect in Wade around.
Either way, the Yankees are a much worse team without Gregorius in the lineup. He’s a Gold Glove-caliber defender up the middle and a 20-homer threat from the left side of the plate, a rare combination. Hopefully, this turns out not to be a big deal.