Anthony Rizzo puts rivals on notice with rebound confidence

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Yankees unofficial leader Anthony Rizzo expressed his excitement for the upcoming season to reporters in Tampa on Tuesday, stating, “I feel great and am excited for the new season.” He mentioned that all the issues concerning his head injury are now in the past, fortunately. Additionally, the first baseman remarked that he had a typical offseason and felt it was quite lengthy, but he’s enthusiastic about being back in camp.

Anthony Rizzo is eager to bounce back alongside a revamped Yankees lineup. The team’s offseason acquisitions, like Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo, coupled with healthy returns from injured players like himself, create an atmosphere of optimism. While acknowledging the challenges of last season, Rizzo believes the Yankees can learn from past setbacks and translate that into success in the upcoming year.

Anthony Rizzo flashes renewed vigor, vows return to form

Anthony Rizzo’s 2023 season was a tale of two halves. Through May, the veteran first baseman was on fire, boasting an impressive .304/.376/.505 batting line with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. He was arguably the league’s best first baseman at the time.

Yankees' Anthony Volpe, Alex Verdugo, and Anthony Rizzo at Tampa facility on Ja 13, 2024.
Charles Wenzelberg/NYP

His 2023 season started on a promising note, with the veteran first baseman potentially leading the league in his position during the first two months. However, his momentum was halted by a head injury sustained in the Yankees’ final series against the San Diego Padres in May. It followed lingering post-concussion symptoms. This decline, along with various other injuries throughout the year, was considered a contributing factor to the Yankees falling short of the playoffs with an 82-win season.

While he initially cleared concussion protocols, Anthony Rizzo was later diagnosed with lingering post-concussion symptoms. This forced him to miss the remaining two months of the season, leaving a crucial gap in the Yankees’ lineup.

Now, with the new season approaching, Anthony Rizzo expresses his eagerness to return to training and put his injury behind him. He looks forward to contributing at his best level and replicating his previous impressive form.

He emphasized the significance of being back on the field, stating, “It means a lot to me.” Anthony Rizzo acknowledged the difficulty of not being able to play and having to observe from the sidelines, expressing that it’s always tough. He also emphasized that baseball is not just a job but a passion, adding, “I love coming to work every day.”

However, a head injury sustained in late May took a significant toll. Following his return from concussion protocols, Anthony Rizzo was diagnosed with post-concussion symptoms, impacting his performance throughout June and July. His batting average dipped below .200, and he only managed one more homer and nine more RBIs before the season’s end. He finished with a final slash line of .244/.328/.406.

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Despite the challenges of the latter half of the season, Anthony Rizzo remains optimistic and prefers to focus on the positives. He acknowledges the difficulties he faced but also recognizes the strong start he had. Looking ahead, he is determined to build on that early success and leave his injury behind him in the new season.

Anthony Rizzo expressed that it was all about perspective, stating that there were challenges, but they could have been worse. He noted that everything had improved now and mentioned his tendency to see the positives in situations. He explained that the downtime had allowed him to rest a bit more, get his body in excellent condition, and now he was just thrilled to be there, looking forward to a fresh start in the new year.

He said that whenever anyone faces challenges or setbacks in their career, especially as they gain more experience, they learn to analyze and understand them better. They identify areas for improvement and focus their efforts accordingly. He mentioned that it had been a unique situation with several players, including himself, coming off challenging seasons or incomplete performances. He noted that during the offseason, the level of determination and focus was different, and now that they’re back, they’re all prepared and eager to start anew.

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