HOUSTON – Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who left Game 5 of the World Series early with a right knee injury, has been removed from the team roster due to a right MCL sprain and was replaced by rookie receiver Korey Lee. Houston manager Dusty Baker said Gurriel ran onto the field earlier Saturday to test his knee.
Major League Baseball medical director Dr. Gary Green confirmed the injury after contacting the evaluating physician. MLB postseason rules provide that a team may seek permission from the commissioner’s office to replace a player unable to play due to injury.
“[Gurriel] tried everything,” Baker said. “He came in yesterday and got treatment, came in this morning and got treatment and didn’t react well enough to play. He tried to run, and from a guy who had knee injuries, the hardest thing to do is stop and then go around the bases and have a sideways move He tried everything He wasn’t crying but he had tears in his eyes You could tell how much he wanted play. He just couldn’t do it and we had to replace him.
With a third receiver on their roster, the Astros launched Christian Vázquez as the designated hitter in Game 6, with Martín Maldonado behind the plate. Lee, who hit .160 in 12 games with Houston this year, was on the club’s playoff taxi team. Baker said he thought about hitting Vázquez several times this year. He only did it once because he didn’t want to risk one of the two receivers getting hurt.
“No. 1, he’s a contact guy,” Baker said of Vázquez. “I can do a lot with him. I did it once as an experiment to see. I had wanted to do it many times, but I didn’t necessarily want to, in case something happened to Maldy… I really didn’t want to put my team in a position where I was going to lose [the] DH and put a pitcher in there and hit for the pitcher and go back to my National League days with only a four-man bench.
Gurriel suffered a knee injury in the seventh inning of Game 5 when he was awkwardly tagged by Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins during a debrief. The injury followed the end of Gurriel’s impressive 48-game non-strikeout streak at the plate this postseason, which ended in the fourth inning when he pitched against Connor Brogdon.
Gurriel, who won the Game 7 Finals to claim the 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, was hitting .347 (17 for 49) with two home runs and four RBIs in the playoffs, including 6-for-19 with a RBI in the World Series. Trey Mancini replaced him at first base in Game 5 and made a stellar play to hook a line drive Kyle Schwarber at first base.
“Yuli was one of our best hitters in the playoffs, so obviously it stinks not having him,” center fielder Chas McCormick said. “But we have guys who know their role and we have confidence in everyone who will be part of this formation. We have a lot of good hitters on this team. »
Framber Valdez, starting Astros Game 6, has the highest rushing rate in MLB and Gurriel is an excellent defenseman, having won a Gold Glove Award last year. So it stands to reason that there will be plenty of chances for Mancini at first base. Baker said Mancini is first because he has the most experience in the role.
“This is Mancini’s time to shine,” Baker said.
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