The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago White Sox 1-0 on Sunday to move to 6-3 on the season, but the Bucs lost talented shortstop Oneil Cruz for the foreseeable future in the process.
Cruz fractured his ankle while sliding into home plate and made contact with White Sox catcher Seby Zavala.
While there’s no timetable currently for Cruz’s return, the Pirates will surely be without the services of Cruz for a while.
“You guys know me well enough to know that we don’t live in a speculative world and let’s not go anywhere. He’s still being evaluated we just know it’s fractured,” manager Derek Shelton said of the injury.
Prior the getting hurt, Cruz held a .250/.375/.375 slash line with six RBIs and three steals through nine games.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, who shares the left side of the infield with Cruz, knows that losing him for any amount of time is difficult.
“It affects it a lot, just the range that he has and the presence he has on the field, the guy he is, the leadoff hitter and how he runs the bases – all of that. He impacts the game in a lot of different ways just by being on the field so it’s definitely a big blow.”
Carlos Santana came to Cruz’s defense when Zavala seemed to have some words for Cruz while he lay injured next to home plate. The result of the play was a benches-clearing brawl.
Santana, a 14-year major league veteran, has taken the 24-year-old Cruz under his wing since joining the Pirates.
“I feel bad. I feel bad. He’s hurt. He’s hurt. It’s baseball. I’m very close to him. I keep in touch with him after the accident. He’s strong. He’s a younger guy. He’s strong.”
Now, the Pirates will need to try and keep their momentum of their impressive start to the season by trying to weather the storm of being without Cruz.
“It hurts to lose Cruz as a player but, as a team we need to continue to play hard and play together like we’ve been doing and I think that’s gonna be a key for our success down the road,” Rodolfo Castro said through team interpreter Stephen Morales.