Matt Carpenter’s injury quote shows why he’s an ideal throwback Yankee


The second Matt Carpenter sliced a foul directly off his back foot in the first inning Monday night, the two-month Yankees icon knew something serious had happened. It didn’t stop him from settling back into the box and trying one last time to do his job before departing, though.

Carpenter, a folk hero’s folk hero since he arrived in the Bronx in late May, ready to unload bags off the team plane if it could get him work, will miss the vast majority of the rest of the regular season, if not all of it, after a mid-game examination revealed he had suffered a foot fracture.

He’ll be replaced in the lineup by Miguel Andújar, for the time being, who surged in Scranton and has earned another shot as a big-league bat, even though nobody wanted that shot to come like this.

But before he officially departed and became a cheerleader for several weeks, he saw runners on second and third with no outs and knew he had one last opportunity to break a team-wide slump. One more opportunity he could savor while he was laid up, reflecting upon all the amazing things he’d done that no one thought possible back in April or during any of the previous three seasons.

Carpenter tried valiantly to stomach the pain and get a run or two home, but struck out while doing so. He made it clear in his postgame availability that he didn’t need an MRI to tell him the bone was broken, but so badly wanted to succeed that he gave it an honest shot, like some kind of … great champion who plays for love of the game. Those still exist?

Matt Carpenter is a gritty, gutty instant throwback Yankees legend

The reeling Yankees will miss Carpenter’s presence in the lineup immensely. He wasn’t just a quirky addition to the team. He was one of the most fearsome players in the game over the past two months, sporting a 1.139 OPS and .412 OBP while rocking 15 homers and knocking in 37 runs.

Worry-wart fans waited the full duration of his time in pinstripes for him to “slow down”. In the end, he only came to a stop because his busted foot wouldn’t allow him to continue.

Great stories aren’t supposed to end like this. The hero is supposed to be knocked down after fighting through an unexpected setback, but he’s not supposed to disappear. The “one last at-bat” isn’t supposed to be a first-inning, mid-August plate appearance in Seattle.

Carpenter knows that, which will be motivating his fight as he works to get back before the bell sounds on 2022.

You thought Carpenter gritting his teeth over two more regular-season RBI was special? Imagine his potential return coming two months from now, in the ALDS at Yankee Stadium.