The Yankee Injury Bug (2021): Robinson Chirinos (Fractured Wrist)
Last week we shared that Yankees 2nd in Command of the Bullpen, Zack Britton, has found himself landed on the IL. Today we catch up on some other injury news, this time coming from catcher Robinson Chirinos who is dealing with a fractured wrist.
Robinson Chirinos underwent x-rays & CT scan imaging today at BayCare Outpatient Imaging in Tampa, revealing a fractured right wrist. Drs. Daniel Murphy & Christopher Ahmad were consulted and reviewed imagery. Wrist & hand specialists will be consulted to determine next steps. — New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 11, 2021
Miguel Andjuar is dealing w/ a muscle strain in his hand, a little bit of a nerve issue, too, Boone says. Going to continue treatment. #Yankees Robinson Chirinos (fractured wrist) will have surgery tomorrow and could miss 4-6 weeks. — Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) March 15, 2021
Robinson Chirinos Is a Yankee?
Signed by the New York Yankees on February 13th, 2021 and about a week before pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training, Robinson Chirinos took a minor league deal after a very down 2020 season between Arlington and New York (NL). He managed to play just 26 games last season around a stint on the IL with a right ankle sprain while hitting to a 31 OPS+ and a triple-slash of .162/.232/.243 with just 1 home run.
And while Chirinos would be the 3rd oldest Yankee if he was to make the team out of spring training (behind Brett Gardner and Darren O’Day), he is not far removed from some good offensive seasons, including a 105 OPS+ in 2019 and three-straight seasons with an OPS+ over 100 from 2015 to 2017. (In 2018 he had a 99 OPS+).
However, Chirinos is also been a flip-floppy defensive catcher in his 9-year career which has led to a very low career fWAR (+5.3) and a decent bWAR (+12.4).
How Did We Get Here?
After talking about his hopes to crack the Yankees opening day roster in his introductory ZOOM press conference back in February, we now know that there is a 0% chance of it happening after this injury.
Sustained after taking a pitch off of his right wrist during a swing against a pitch from Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Blake Cederland, the Yankees immediately removed him from the game and sent him for X-rays the next day.
After consultation with Yankees team doctor Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Daniel Murphy of BayCare Outpatient Imaging in Tampa, (no relation to the former New York Met), they confirmed the fracture and encouraged the surgery which should be happening today.
Chirinos has a 4 to 6 week timeline for return to baseball, where he will likely start the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Below is a video of the pitch from Cederland:
How Does this Effect the Yankees?
As much of a shame as this is for Robinson Chirinos, who was receiving high praise from Aaron Boone for his work with the Yankees catchers this Spring Training, this move does also hurt the Yankees.
While Chirinos had a poor shot to make the Opening Day roster (and it is unclear if he had an opt-out after Spring Training in his contract if he did not break camp with the MLB team) his removal for the next month plus from baseball does hurt the Yankees catching depth. We are well aware that Gary Sanchez has not been the most healthy player in the world and if he was to go down, the Yankees need a viable back-up to Kyle Higashioka.
Currently, the Yankees are looking to journeyman Rob Brantly to fill that 3rd catcher role if something was to happen. Brantly hasn’t played more than 20 games in the MLB since 2012 and 2013 when he was with the Miami Marlins. He is a decent step down in depth from Chirinos.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at some viable 3rd-string (or maybe even 2nd-string) catcher for the Yankees to consider in the wake of this injury.
Article By: Ethan Semendinger
Date Published: March 16th, 2021