2:00pm: The Pirates announced that Cruz has been placed on the 10-day injured list with Mathias recalled to take his place.
12:40pm: The Pirates issued a statement to announce the surgery on Cruz’s ankle from director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk: “Oneil Cruz had surgery last evening at Allegheny General Hospital by Dr. Greg Altman and Dr. Darren Frank. The surgery stabilized the fractured fibula and addressed the injury to the syndesmosis. The Pirates anticipate a return to action in 4 months.”
9:40am: Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz underwent surgery on his fractured left ankle last night, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It had been previously reported by Kody Duncan of Rum Bunter that Cruz would be undergoing surgery. Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Cruz is expected to miss 10-12 weeks.
Cruz, 24, was removed from yesterday’s game after an attempt to score on a ground ball resulted in an awkward slide and a collision with White Sox catcher Seby Zavala. Cruz remained on the ground for a while in obvious pain and needed help getting off the field. After the game, manager Derek Shelton informed reporters that Cruz had a fracture in his left ankle, which has now resulted in surgery.
It’s a frustrating blow for the Pirates, given that Cruz is one of the most exciting young players on their roster. At 6’7″, he is one of the more unique shortstops in baseball history. Beyond just his height, he’s also a Statcast darling, showcasing incredible arm strength, sprint speed and exit velocity.
His obvious talent also comes with some concerns, understandable for a young player that is still developing. He hit 17 home runs and stole 10 bases in just 87 games last year but also struck out in 34.9% of his plate appearances. Cruz had shown some positive development in that category so far this season, striking out in just 20% of his trips to the plate. It’s been a small sample of just 40 plate appearances in nine game, but he also more than doubled his walk rate, going from 7.8% last year to 17.5% in the early going here in 2023. That progress will now be put on hold for a few months as Cruz rehabs from his procedure.
The rebuilding Pirates are off to a hot start this year, currently sporting a 6-3 record. They will now have to proceed without their planned everyday shortstop. Rodolfo Castro and Ji Hwan Bae have been splitting second base duties so far this year, but both have shortstop experience and could move to the other side of the bag. Castro told Gorman that he’s “gonna be ready for whatever position they need me to play and I’m gonna give 100%.” He has just 161 innings of major league experience at short but much more in the minors. He has a career batting line of .222/.287/.410 for a wRC+ of 93, hitting 16 home runs in 111 games so far but also striking out at a 27.7% clip.
As for Bae, he has only 18 big league games under his belt so far but has hit .295/.348/.426 for a wRC+ of 115 while stealing five bases. He can play the middle infield and also the outfield, though it seems fair to expect him to be on the dirt more going forward. He and Castro should split most of the middle infield duties in some capacity with the Bucs likely calling up someone like Mark Mathias or Tucupita Marcano to play a bench role since both of them are on the 40-man roster. Though with Cruz set to miss a few months, he could also be placed on the 60-day injured list, allowing the club to open a roster spot for someone like Chris Owings.
Shoot, I mean, Wow!
If the Bucs had a better 3rd base coach, Cruz wouldn’t have tried to score.
Cruz nearly got injured sliding into:3rd base during a game last week which should have forewarned Shelton that Cruz needs attention on his sliding attempts
Now the question is, who will be promoted to take his place on the roster?
While I’m in this mode, send Choi down if he has any options left. He swings at just about everything thrown in his direction and needs to learn plate discipline
Mathias to be promoted.
They need a utility player not another outfielder. Someone who can spell either Castro or Bae at shortstop and second base.
Marcano started his season at Indy going 12 for 24, and he is more of a utility player than Mathias
If the plan is to play Marcano every day at 2B and leave him there to see how he does then I would be all for promoting him. If the plan is to “Van Meter” him and start him half the time in a different position every time, then I say call up Mathias to do that and let Marcano keep playing every day at AAA. He’s got a possible future as a regular and I want them to pick a position for him and leave him there.
I get what you’re saying, Uncle, but who will cover for Castro or Bae when they need a break.
Both are known to go into slumps and can’t possibly be expected to play every game for the next 3 months
Perhaps Leury Garcia available!
All because he doesn’t know how to slide. This is a result when you rush guys to the big leagues. Incomplete players. You could have a guy who’s bat is ready in the majors but his baseball IQ isn’t ready or his defence, body, maturity, fundamentals any one of those things. But you fans said it was collusion…
Oh yeah good call bro, keep the legit talent down in the minors until they’ve mastered sliding techniques
except that he’s been playing baseball since he was a kid so sliding isn’t a new concept to him
For those that defended the promotion of Mathias to replace Cruz,! ask why?
He showed zilch yesterday at the plate. Another player who swings at every pitch thrown to him
iver – it’s clear that Cruz had to alter his approach when the catcher jumped to catch the ball. He had less than a second to react and change. Your idiotic comments show your IQ.
Anyone who blames the catcher for this clearly doesn’t know baseball.
Catcher did nothing wrong. Late slide by Cruz and he rolled the ankle. Wasn’t a dirty play on either end. It happens.
Yah it was a very awkward slide by Cruz
Very awkward slide by Cruz. He also took a poor path to the plate…needed to be more in the throwing path. You have to assume that the Catcher is going to block the plate in that situation(or be really close to it).
If he was a Cardinal, Marmol would have benched him. Broken ankle schmroken ankle
So awkward that Oli Marmol would’ve benched him.
Pardon my duplicate comments. The super lag associated with MLBTR and not PFR is annoying yet somewhat understandable.
I don’t blame Zavala for blocking the plate. After he got the ball, he had every right to do so. But talking down to Cruz afterwards was so unnecessary and rude.
Zavala just almost had his ankle broken by Cruz’s horrible slide. I’d give him some slack plus he probably had no idea how injured Cruz was at that moment. I don’t think Cruz did anything intentional but you need to take the lane or at least be sliding (i.e. butt on the ground) when you engage the tag. Cruz pretty much speared Zavala’s ankle at a 45 degree angle.
There was also knee to knee contact on the collision.
Not sure WTF is going on with opposing players trying to take out White Sox players. The next game, the Twins ran into Sox fielders 3 separate times
In retrospect I’m sure he regrets cursing at an injured guy, but it was his initial reaction after Cruz went straight into him rather than the outside of the plate which Zavala made available appropriately
Not you, but according to the comments here Cruz does know how to slide.
What the video shows was the Cruz was a step or a step-and-a-half away from the catcher with his arms and hands up as if he was going to block him when he suddenly seemed to realize that he couldn’t do that. So he dropped down into what looked like a slide but the fact is that even if his spikes hadn’t caught Cruz would have slammed into the catcher before he even hit the ground.
The video shows there was adequate space to the left of the plate for him to slide. Had he started his slide at the proper time and stayed to the left of home plate touching it with his left hand as he slid past, no one would have been hurt and he might have even beaten the tag. I’ve seen players do what I just described hundreds of times the past few years. It’s SOP.
5’11” stagnant vs. 6’7″ running — I’d be shocked if he didn’t get up cursing.
Carlos Santana knows why he’s getting paid, and it’s not to hit the ball.
Carlos Santana,as the on deck batter, should have been in position to tell Cruz to slide because the throw was coming home. He never left the on deck circle! Maybe if Cruz had known for sure the play was coming home, he would have slide earlier. Not the example a veteran player (who hasn’t hit in years) should be giving a young team.
stymee, this was not a hit to the outfield. Nobody is getting behind the plate that fast to signal the runner.
You make an excellent point. I haven’t seen the footage enough to see where Santana was. But that’s precisely why that on deck batter becomes essentially a base coach. Cruz got caught up. It happens. If he doesn’t snag a spike we’re talking a baserunning blunder soon forgotten. Most guys get away with this…Cruz sure didn’t.
1. How do you know the catcher was “talking down to” Cruz?
2. Athletes in the heat of competition are not supposed to be “rude” to one another?
there’s literally a video feed w/ audio on Pirates broadcast that you clearly hear Zavala was cursing at Cruz after the play
I think Zavala wasn’t happy that Cruz was coming straight at him instead of sliding around him. I don’t know if that was Cruz’s intention but Zavala might have thought it was. In the heat of the moment, Zavala might have told Cruz he didn’t appreciate it. But I agree, it was Santana’s job to gesture to Cruz to slide to the side. Since he was coming in feet first shook slide wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
1. Did you watch any of the clips of the incident? It’s clear as day he was talking down to Cruz
2. I know this may come as a shocker to you, but I don’t like when other players are rude to players I like. I didn’t know that was only specifically youger generations prefered.
@samuel….so…. They cleared the benches for a brawl because Santana made an after game lunch suggestion the other team didn’t like?
It was pretty clear that he said something down to Cruz that Santana heard and didn’t like.
I forget where I read this, but someone somewhere said that Cruz slid into home like a deer.
More like a deer carcass.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Or Rob Deer
or deer wiener schnitzel
Sid Bream Speed Demon
Not sure Rob Deer would have been running that fast. Lol
Sid Bream Speed Demon
That was me on a different thread. He’s all legs, like a fawn….lol.
kinda, dear are pretty clumsy. That slide in to home seems to fit.
Wonder what Pete Rose would have done there.
I’m not sure but I’ll bet on it… or at least he’d bet on it.
Ya know I absolutely predicted this kind of response, lol. Rose as a human not much to say there, but as a ball player he was bad ass. If you didn’t give Rose room at home he’d take it and your head off. Cruz should have done the exact same thing, but it would have probably gotten the White Sox mad and benches would have cleared, but Cruz would likely be in tonight’s lineup instead of preparing for 3 months or rehab.
The White Sox were mad and the benches did clear.
No, the Pirates were mad, specifically Carolos Santana who went after Zavala for whatever comments he had toward Cruz. The White Sox had zero to be mad about, they got the out and the other team’s player limped off the field.
If Cruz would have done what Rose or anyone would have done back in the day, he would have out no matter what and possibly suspended for a blatant violation of the Posey Rule for intentionally causing dangerous contact.
Yeah I think Zavala thought Cruz was trying to hurt him. Poor path to plate, late and very awkward slide, made total sense to go more outside the line to avoid tag too anyways. Someone needs to watch how to slide into home plate for next 3 months while they’re recovering.
Ole shorty “Carolos” wasn’t gonna do a thing. Just had to do something cause Cruz slide looked like something from a 10 year old little league game
Carlos said a little bit of this and a little bit of that, it started with a kick and we’ve come to that.
Dumpster Divin Theo
He needs to go to Tom Emanski school of sliding
Dumpster Divin Theo
White Sox weren’t mad until Carlos Santana punked Sevy starting a brouhaha. Taking out his 0 for 40 frustration. Santana hasn’t had a hit since Black Magic Woman.
He looked worse than a little leaguer.
How can a major leaguer not know how to slide ?
Kwolf68- In a fight I would take Zavala over Santana. Santana hasn’t hit anything in years.
And where would Zavala be if Cruz had done that? Watching the game in the box seats with Ray Fosse?
Probably bet on it, deny the bet, then write a book saying he lied once all his money dries up
Rose would have bet the over on Cruz’s recovery time.
Another reason that MLB should start using robots or simulate games. Players nowadays aren’t built to play baseball as they were back in the good ol’days.
The only concern I believe posters here have with your proposal is this:
Will the robots “get paid”? The billionaire owners will try to cheat them. How do you assure the robots have agents and a Robots Union?
The upside to your proposal though is that the robots can only do what they’re programmed to do, so if they do the wrong thing it’s not their fault.
I think they are built for it, but baseball has legislated out some of the “hard stuff”. You don’t want catchers getting run over fine, but the rule is suspended if the catcher blocks the plate.
It’s clear Cruz probably thought a sweep tag was coming, thus he wasn’t preparing for a collision, but the catcher was basically straddling the 3rd base line and Cruz hit the panick button and went into an ill advised slide. He should have wrecked the catcher.
Video does not back up the points in your 2 posts.
According to a certain video game, we were already supposed to be playing with cyborg and robot players 3 years ago.
I believe that that his cleats stuck in dirt causing the awkward slide. If Zavala said something then Santana was right to respond. White Sox are was always complaining. Nothing said about Anderson ‘s two hand shove to Santana.
Come back in August just in time to help push them to the top of the central and dominate in the playoffs.
I sure hope the catcher gets fined for blocking the plate and causing this to happen. Then he goes and makes an utter fool of himself getting made at Cruz starting a fight. The guy obviously has very limited brain capacity but he needs to be made an example of. In situations like this I always said you cause an injury you should be out as long as the other player that you injured. Would put an end to a lot of nonsense very quickly.
Clearly, you haven’t watched the video and when you do, please stop it as the catcher has possession of the ball…..what you’ll see, is the catcher clearly in fair territory on the infield side of the foul line, and secondly, a bad path decision by Cruz as he is coming into the plate……there is clearly no blocking of the plate……
He was called out for a reason. I seen the play.
Cruz knows how to (appropriately) slide into home, he’s done it a million times, but just made a bad decision this time and it’s a bummer for him and the Pirates and all of us fans who were looking forward to seeing what he could do in a full season. It cost him and he will hopefully learn.
I’m glad Zavala didn’t get hurt.
I mean, Cruz is 6’7″, 220 LBS. He’s just going to be physically akward when sliding. Have you ever seen a tractor-trailer try to come to a complete stop after going full speed? Same concept.
Not if he learned and practiced when he was younger, smaller, and lighter.
Check out JD Davis in the Giants soul destroying 6-5 loss to the Royals. 6’3 220,
ball gets there earlier. Jammed his shoulder a bit but got to be a better method.
I’m just glad it wasn’t an ACL. Ofc it sucks he’s out because he can be so productive, but he’s also just such a fun player to watch. He loves to play, and his smile is infectious. Here’s to a speedy recovery, Cruz.
Santana was just trying to explain to the catcher what happened.
I distinctly heard him say: ” Oy Como va, Zuvala” before everything went sideways.
That 10-12 week timeline puts him back just after the all star break assuming rehab goes well. Great start to the season for the Bucs so far. The bullpen has been incredible which is a huge early development in the season. The offense has been better than I expected but it’s all or nothing right now for specific players. Reynolds, Bae, Cruz and Cutch getting on base a lot and the other half of the lineup not doing much at all. More offensive consistency throughout the lineup would go a long way to playing roughly .500 ball while Cruz is out to keep them in contention come July and August.
Why would you expect an offense that is already outperforming itself to somehow get even better without Cruz? Plus, they still have no starting pitching, and the updated timeline has Cruz out until August. The Pirates will be fighting the Reds to stay out of the basement to no one’s surprise.
I don’t expect Hayes to be this bad at the plate for several months in a row. I do expect Suwinski and/or Smith-Njiba to be replaced on the 26 man roster if they continue to be this bad. Endy Rodriguez will be up at some point to replace the automatic out in the lineup from the catcher position. There’s a very real possibility that Mark Mathias/Tucupita Marcano/Nick Gonzales/whoever ends up taking Cruz’ roster spot for the bulk of the time he is out moves Rodolfo Castro’s all or more often than not nothing approach at the plate to the bench. There’s plenty of scenarios to see improvement.
It won’t be a one for one replacement of Cruz’ offense but the lineup as a whole could and should get better. Starting pitching depth is certainly a big issue but I’m not expecting a World Series contending team or anything. My guess is about 77 wins, about a handful of games under .500 and third in the division.
Losing Cruz, their second best hitter, means the offense has to be worse overall than they are with him in the lineup. There’s no getting around that. They also don’t have any spectacular hitting prospects that will improve the offense much over the guys they’d replace.
It’s not just that that they have no starting pitching depth. They have no good starting pitchers AT ALL, just a couple of decent ones at best. Their rotation is among the worst in MLB.
Without Cruz available, even the Cubs have a better offense and certainly a much better pitching staff, so 3rd place is pretty much a pipe dream for the Pirates for now.
Thanks to Keller, Contreras and Oviedo, I actually was thinking this team was leaning more towards 75+ wins this season. After all, Cutch and Santana alone have put doubts about their effectiveness aside quite quickly. Hill, Velasquez….about what I thought they’d be….but still, you have the makings of a “competitive” ball club with Reynolds, Cruz and at some point, contributions from guys like Hayes intermingled with the veterans
But this injury and news puts them back at the 70 win area, at least in my mind. Like Reynolds, Cruz was a guy who just can’t be replaced. While Reynolds is offensive leader here, Cruz is a guy who not only provides some power but also the guy who sets the table by getting on base. No idea who takes that role now. Hayes is in a funk, Castro seems to be a Mendoza Line type and Bae….
the guy has speed but opponents will be on to him defensively. And some of his at bats against lefties have been grotesque.
I found your lack of faith in Cutch Santana disturbing. They can still win 75. Hill Velasquez Castro CSN Suiwinski Choi Hayes can’t get any worse. Nowhere to go but up or to the minors.
He’s probably going to come back before the All-Star break, I’d imagine a rehab assignment would be needed. It could be much worse, so he’ll still be productive and contribute to a much more interesting Pirates team this year.
Unfortunate. Cruz’s ankle will never be the same.
He will probably have a hard time getting that mega deal a few years down the road and have to settle for the Twins
I think the 10-12 weeks (in the title) was changed to four months…
Maybe they found some ringworm.
I remember when Darrell Porter tip-toed into HP against Bob Boone and was tagged out. Someone asked Bob Boone if there was a ‘code’ amongst catchers. Boone said “Yeah. The code is you get knocked on your ass.”
Boone’s quote was from Bill James’ abstract.
Probably should make a rule if there running to a base you need to let them have that base.
That rule already exists. It’s just that the exception that the fielder is allowed to block a running lane to field the ball or catch a throw has also always existed.
No a rule that says you can’t look or touch a player if he is running to a base. That way no one will get hurt. This game is a mess. They make it worse every year.
Who cares if you look at a baserunner?
As for touching, if it’s incidental, it doesn’t matter, and you need to be able to touch a runner to tag him out in the first place.. Otherwise, as I said, it has indeed always been against the rules for a fielder to block the proper running lane of a baserunner unless he’s in the process of fielding or catching the ball..
The Buster Posey rule then extended that rule to collisions at home plate. In this particular case, there was no way to stop the collision. Cruz just made it worse than it needed to be. We also have the Chase Utley rule now that provides reasonable safety on tag plays at 2nd and 3rd base, but of course, accidents will still happen as long as tag plays and even very close force plays exist.
If a runner is outside a reasonable area around the baselines, that’s his own fault, and he’ll likely be called out even if he doesn’t make contact with a fielder.
It never ever fails, it’s ALWAYS the biggest stars and rookies that have long term injuries every single season. We get excited to see how a player is going to perform and then boom.. out for the year. we rarely hear smaller names go down for the season, it’s always the big players, the most important players. As a fan of baseball in general (not just one team) I hate seeing this)
No it’s not. Look at the MLBTR page over the past few days, plenty of relatively unknown players have gotten injured already.
I’m fine with calling Mathias up. He can play against LHP and maybe a break if there’s no off days against RHP. No point in calling up Marcano. Don’t really have a spot for him and he can keep getting every day AB at Indy. This is why Mathias was here, as a depth guy
Hopefully Mathias gets some decent time. he’s done well in AAA and short sample at the MLB level..
I want to see Peguero and/or Gonzalez come up to be the every day middle IF and put Bae in Center most nights.
But still would like to see both of them get another week or two in AAA just to see how they’re doing.
Agree 100% about Peguero and Gonzalez but the jury is out on Bae. He has the propensity to be an exciting, speedy player. On the other hand, he had a couple of at bats that were ridiculous.
It looked like in O’Neil Cruz’s part he was indecisive on sliding and trying to barrel the catcher. Which I think trying to barrel the catcher was what made the catcher mad. But I don’t think it was a dirty play on anyone’s part, just in poor taste for people to start a brawl when dudes literally on the ground hurt. Kudos to the umpire for getting down there and trying to make sure he was protected a bit.
That means we won’t see him again this year, right? 4 months would him put at August 11 or so and September 1 is their last game. So why even bring him back then? Better give him some extra time to heal and not risk another injury
How is Sept 1 their last game?
Cardinals can trade you DeJong