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Yankees announce Didi Gregorius needs Tommy John surgery

Excuse me, what?!

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees buried the lede during Friday afternoon’s end of the season press conference, waiting until the conclusion of Aaron Boone’s session to announce shortstop Didi Gregorius requires Tommy John surgery. An MRI taken yesterday diagnosed a UCL tear in his right elbow, and he will go under the knife at some point this offseason.

Boone indicated that he believes Gregorius suffered the injury during Game One of the ALDS at Fenway Park. They suspect the injury occurred while Gregorius backed up Andrew McCutchen when a ball bounced off the Green Monster. Didi fired home, and that throw likely caused the tear.

Interestingly enough, Brian Cashman mentioned that Gregorius came over from Arizona with a partial tear in the ligament. The Yankees general manager described it as “asymptomatic”, and noted that he forgot that the injury existed.

As for a timetable, Cashman expects Gregorius to return at some point during the summer. He described Gleyber Torres as an in-house candidate for a replacement, but will “evaluate the available free agent market”. The impending free agency of Manny Machado makes the 26-year-old an obvious external target.

Gregorius, 28, hit .268/.335/.494 with 27 home runs in 2018. He missed some time with a heel injury down the stretch, and appeared absent at the plate in May, but otherwise was as productive as one could expect. Beginning the season without Didi will be rough, no matter the replacement. He’s a plus-plus player on the field, and by all accounts in the clubhouse as well.