The Yankees' offseason began with a bout of bad news, as manager Aaron Boone revealed on Friday that shortstop Didi Gregorius will require Tommy John surgery to repair damage in his right elbow relating to an injury he suffered during the American League Division Series.
Gregorius sustained the injury while making a turn-and-throw on a ball from left field during Game 1 or Game 2 last weekend at Fenway Park in Boston. Gregorius started both Games 3 and 4 at shortstop when the series shifted back to New York on Monday and Tuesday.
Boone is optimistic that Gregorius will play the bulk of the 2019 season.
General manager Brian Cashman said it is too early to say if the Yankees will look externally to fill Gregorius' void for the start of 2019. Cashman said that infielder Gleyber Torres, who played 21 of his 130 games this year at shortstop, is "by far the best player for consideration" that the Yankees currently have.
Tommy John is most notably associated with pitcher injuries and the rehab can be grueling, potentially lasting more than one year. Position players typically return to the field in less time following Tommy John.
For example, Torres missed about half a season in 2017 after tearing the UCL in his non-throwing elbow. Dodgers star Corey Seager underwent Tommy John surgery this past May and is expected to be on the team's Opening Day roster in 2019. Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who underwent Tommy John during the first week of the offseason, is expected to be the club's designated hitter for a significant portion of 2019, though Ohtani will not pitch next season.
Other notable position players to receive the surgery include former MLB outfielder Carl Crawford, Angels infielder Zack Cozart, Twins third baseman Miguel Sano and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez -- all of whom were able to return to the field in a year's time or less.
Gregorius tore cartilage in his right wrist ahead of the postseason, but he was cleared to return to baseball activities after missing five games. He also missed time from late August into September with a left heel contusion. In total, Gregorius -- who got off to an MVP-caliber start in April -- played in 134 games last season, hitting .268/.335/.494 with a career-high 27 homers and 86 RBIs. In the postseason, Gregorius went 4-for-17 with a double, three RBIs, four strikeouts and a run scored
Daniel Kramer MLB.com