Yankees’ Gonzalez hospitalized in Mexico following orbital fracture, awaits more tests

Yankees OF Oscar Gonzalez reacts after a hit causing orbital fracture on March 25, 2024 in Mexico City.
Michael Bennington
Tuesday March 26, 2024

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A frightening scene unfolded at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu on Monday night during the Yankees’ exhibition matchup against the Diablos Rojos. In the bottom of the second inning, outfielder Oscar Gonzalez fouled a pitch directly into his face, sustaining a right orbital fracture.

The impact sent Gonzalez crashing to the ground in visible agony. Diablos Rojos catcher Jose Briceno immediately recognized the severity of the situation and signaled for medical assistance from the Yankees dugout.

Manager Aaron Boone, accompanied by two trainers, sprinted onto the field to reach Gonzalez. While initially dazed, Gonzalez was eventually able to sit up and walk, albeit under his power, to a waiting cart that transported him off the field.

Following a tense wait, initial tests at a local hospital confirmed the diagnosis of an orbital fracture. Out of an abundance of caution, the Yankees announced Gonzalez would remain hospitalized overnight for observation and rest. He is also scheduled for additional imaging on Tuesday to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the injury.

With Gonzalez requiring further medical attention in Mexico City, a Double-A trainer was assigned to stay with him while the rest of the Yankees team traveled on to Houston for their next exhibition game.

Yankees skipper expresses concern for Gonzalez

Oscar-Gonzalez-new-york-yankees
X-@TalkinYanks

New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone expressed his concern for outfielder Oscar Gonzalez following a frightening incident during Monday night’s exhibition game. Gonzalez sustained a right orbital fracture after fouling a pitch directly into his face.

“It was definitely an alarming situation,” Boone admitted. “Our primary focus is on Oscar’s well-being, and we’re hopeful for the best possible outcome.”

Boone acknowledged the excellent level of care Gonzalez was receiving from the medical staff in Mexico City. “We have full confidence in the medical professionals and wish Oscar a speedy recovery,” Boone stated. He did acknowledge, however, that the injury unfortunately brings a premature end to Gonzalez’s spring training campaign.

While details regarding Gonzalez’s specific condition are still emerging, Boone indicated that the Yankees’ medical staff, led by Dr. Malaguti, did not initially suspect a concussion prior to X-rays and a CT scan.

Despite the setback, Gonzalez’s future with the Yankees remains positive. He is expected to transition to Triple-A once he recovers fully. This move, however, had already been planned, as Gonzalez was reassigned to minor league camp earlier on Monday.

Prior to the injury, Gonzalez impressed during the exhibition season, batting an impressive .333 with a .945 OPS in his 16 games played. Boone revealed he had a conversation with Gonzalez before the game, expressing his confidence in the young outfielder’s potential to contribute to the team. Boone observed significant development in Gonzalez’s game, particularly during this spring training compared to previous campaigns.

Yankees see mixed progress on the injury front

Yankees' first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Charles Wenzelberg/NYP

The New York Yankees received mixed news on the injury front on Monday as their Grapefruit League schedule concluded in Tampa.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo made a positive return to the lineup after a three-day absence due to left lat tightness. Manager Aaron Boone reported that Rizzo exited the game feeling optimistic about his physical condition, suggesting a successful return to form.

However, there was a setback for young infield prospect Jorbit Vivas. He was unexpectedly scratched from the game due to a facial contusion sustained during pregame workouts. Despite a negative concussion test administered by the Yankees’ medical staff, Vivas was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation as a precaution.

Yankees finalize Roster with last-minute moves

Jahmai Jones, the Yankees' next potential utility star.
AP

The New York Yankees are putting the finishing touches on their 26-man roster for Opening Day on Thursday, with the door remaining ajar for potential external additions.

Following their split travel from spring training – some players departing Tampa, others returning from Mexico City – the Yankees have tentatively identified their final two bullpen spots. Right-handers Clayton Beeter and Nick Burdi have secured these positions after an internal competition.  

The remaining two bench spots appear to be filled by Jahmai Jones (second baseman/left fielder) and Ben Rortvedt (third-string catcher). However, the management is considering adding a backup shortstop before Thursday. Since Rortvedt has no remaining minor league options, utilizing him in a trade could create space for this addition.

“We’ll see what the days bring,” commented manager Aaron Boone on Monday, hinting at the possibility of further roster tweaks.

Yankees catcher Ben Rortvedt is at the Yankees-Twins game on Feb 27, 2024.
NYY

The Yankees are actively exploring external options for both the bullpen and bench. This could involve players being released by other teams, opting out of contracts, or potential trade opportunities.

General Manager Brian Cashman provided an update on the bench spots on Monday afternoon. He acknowledged that various options, including trades, designations for assignment (DFA), and free agent acquisitions due to opt-outs, are being considered. Cashman emphasized that they are still evaluating and have time to make final decisions.

Upon arrival in Houston, Cashman expects to have discussions with specific players. These discussions will inform them if their performance surpassed internal competition and whether they could be included in the Opening Day roster plans. However, Cashman stressed that final decisions will only be made after exhausting all external options.

This approach allows the Yankees to remain flexible and capitalize on any last-minute opportunities that might strengthen their roster for the upcoming campaign.

While the bullpen composition is set, the Yankees are still finalizing their bench makeup. On Monday, they reassigned several players to minor league camp, including infielders Kevin Smith, Jose Rojas, and the versatile Luis Torrens (infielder/catcher), outfielders Oscar Gonzalez and Greg Allen, and relievers Dennis Santana and Yerry De Los Santos.

It’s noteworthy that Boone specifically mentioned his expectation for Santana, who has an opt-out clause available in July, to make a significant contribution to the major league roster later this season.

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