Tommy John surgery goes 'as expected' for Didi
NEW YORK -- As Didi Gregorius begins his recovery from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees are optimistic that they will have their 'captain of the infield' back at shortstop in 2019. Exactly when that will occur, and how they should proceed in the meantime, is still very much up for discussion.
Gregorius' right elbow surgery "went as expected" on Wednesday, the team announced, with the procedure having been performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. In an interview with Michael Kay on ESPN New York, general manager Brian Cashman said that Gregorius should return to action between June and August of next season.
"No surprises. Anywhere from June to August, you'll be dealing with," Cashman said. "It's an uncertain timeframe that way because you have to play it out. It could be sometime in June, July or August. We'll just wait and see."
It is believed that Gregorius sustained the injury in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, throwing home on Ian Kinsler's seventh-inning RBI double off Dellin Betances.
Though Gregorius played without complaint through the rest of the ALDS, a pair of bounced throws to first base during the Yankees' Game 4 loss prompted concern. The Yankees announced late last week that an MRI revealed a tear in Gregorius' right ulnar collateral ligament.
Cashman said that the Yankees have scheduled their organizational meetings to begin on Oct. 23, during which all options -- internal and external -- will be considered by the club's front office personnel, analytics staff and professional scouts.
The leading internal candidate to fill in at shortstop is Gleyber Torres, who made 15 starts at the position this season, mostly when Gregorius missed time in August with a left heel contusion. Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes would be among the team's other choices.
The obvious marquee name to consider is Manny Machado, who will be among the most sought-after prospective free agents and has already been linked to the Yankees in various rumors. Cashman could not specifically discuss the 26-year-old Machado, who is still wearing a Dodgers uniform as they battle the Brewers in the National League Championship Series.
"I think our position player crew is really strong," Cashman said. "Obviously, we have to find a way to address the Didi information, so how we react to that is yet to be determined. But the biggest priority will be our pitching."
Cashman touched upon several other topics in a wide-ranging discussion, including:
Catcher: "I believe in Gary Sanchez. It's clearly up to us to find ways to continue to unlock what he's capable of, and 2018 obviously wasn't what he or we would have thought. But we know what he's capable of doing, and I'm already getting phone calls, to be honest, from clubs trying to knock on our door to see if he's available. And he's not. That reinforces, I think, what people realize his ceiling and capabilities, and also the position weakness around the game. I think he will be a difference-maker for us."
First base: "If our roster stays as is, Luke Voit is going to have an opportunity to reinforce what he just showed, which I believe was the best bat moved at the [Trade] Deadline. Who would have saw that coming, with all the terrific players that had been moved? And then Greg Bird will have an opportunity to be resuscitated moving forward and find a way to re-establish himself. 2019 is going to be a whole new ballgame."
Luis Severino tipping pitches: "It's obviously an area of focus that we'll continue with and battle through. No matter who you are, if you're as talented as him with the type of electric stuff he has, if they know what's coming then you're going to be very vulnerable, therefore your club will be very vulnerable. It's something we have to fix and get better at and contain."
Brett Gardner, J.A. Happ and Carsten Sabathia: "All great players. All to be determined. We haven't had our meetings, and then once we have our meetings, we'll make recommendations to ownership. They'll set the dance tune that we dance to. They've been impactful leaders. We're lucky to say that they have been Yankees. What happens moving forward still is yet to be determined."
Jacoby Ellsbury: "He's due to be healthy and back on track [following left hip surgery]. He'll enter Spring Training as a rehab player. I guess it remains to be seen if he will be a player that we can deploy as early as Opening Day, or is it going to need a little more time? That's to be determined, but he is supposed to be fully recovered."