Rizzo (neck) 'good' after injury scare

Yankees first baseman could be in the lineup as soon as Monday

May 28th, 2023

NEW YORK -- It was a scary scene at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as first baseman stumbled forward, his glove falling limply to his side before he went down to one knee on the infield dirt.

While completing a double play to end the top of the sixth inning, Rizzo’s head collided with Fernando Tatis Jr.’s hip as he applied the tag after fielding a throw from catcher Kyle Higashioka. After being tended to by the Yankees’ medical staff for a few minutes, Rizzo returned to his feet and walked off the field under his own power.

The Yankees later announced that Rizzo had sustained a neck injury on the play and exited the 10-7 victory over the Padres for precautionary reasons. Rizzo went through the concussion protocol following the game, so he was unable to speak to the media, but manager Aaron Boone gave an encouraging report.

“Rizzo’s good. [We’re] just being cautious there,” Boone said. “He went through all the testing and was fine. We'll just keep an eye on him tonight and tomorrow.”

The Yankees headed to Seattle after the series finale to begin a six-game West Coast road trip, and Boone added that it’s possible Rizzo will be able to play in Monday’s opener against the Mariners.

“Yeah, I would say at this point, it looks that way,” Boone said.

Rizzo was replaced to start the seventh inning, with DJ LeMahieu sliding over to first base, Isiah Kiner-Falefa taking over at third and Greg Allen entering the game in left field.

In the moment, there was considerable cause for concern. Nearly every Yankee on the field encircled Rizzo while he was on the ground, including team captain and good friend Aaron Judge.

“You never know what it is -- Is it a shoulder? Is it a hand? Did he get hit in the head? You never know what it is, so you kind of get concerned,” Judge said. “But he’s a tough guy. He’s going to have the record for most hit-by-pitches here in a couple of years. He can handle a lot, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s doing.”

Rizzo, a 13-year big league veteran, is the Majors’ active career leader with 207 HBPs. The 33-year-old is just 80 HBPs behind MLB’s all-time leader, Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings.

Gerrit Cole, from his vantage point on the mound, was watching especially closely as Rizzo went down, given that his punchout of Xander Bogaerts started the strike-'em-out-pick-'em-off sequence.

“Yeah, I mean, you just don’t want him to get hurt,” Cole said. “He’s like the toughest guy ever. He’s gotten drilled like 200-odd times. So initially, when he goes down, you know he’s probably in quite a bit of pain. But he’s tough; he’s going to be fine in the long run.”