Yankees avoid worst-case scenario with update on Jon Berti's terrifying injury

Still not good, though.
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

When valuable utility man/part-time third baseman Jon Berti went down in a heap at the tail end of Friday's blowout win, it didn't feel like a paranoid assumption to fear the worst. Berti collapsed without contact, then hobbled off the field, avoiding placing weight on his injured leg.

A torn achilles would end Berti's season and remove some much-needed length and versatility from the Yankees' bench -- not to mention it would be personally devastating to a player who's earned his plaudits this year after season upon season of mediocrity in Miami.

Nobody wants to see any key cog go down, but in the ninth inning of a game the Yankees led 7-0 at the time? New York sports radio had to resist blaming Tom Thibodeau.

Concern for Berti only grew when Aaron Boone did not have an update on his scans over 24 hours later in the wake of Saturday's win. Thankfully, Sunday's arrival at the ballpark brought a modicum of good news: Berti's season probably isn't over. He'll be on the shelf a while rehabilitating a high-grade calf strain, and the Yankees can allow him to rest up, with both DJ LeMahieu and Oswald Peraza purportedly readying for their respective returns.

Yankees infielder Jon Berti suffers high-grade calf strain, return date undetermined

The immediate fear was a full tear, and while a "high-grade strain" is, in essence, a tiny tear, the reality is that Berti will have a slow recovery, but should return to help this team down the stretch run, rather than serving as a spectator for the remainder of the year.

Berti, hitting .273 in 55 at-bats and less than a week removed from drilling a game-changing three-run homer against the White Sox, is one of those absences you notice weeks later, realizing you don't have an extra dependable piece around to help carry you through the long season. Remember when Mike Tauchman went down in Sept. 2019 at Fenway (always Fenway), and we believed the Yankees could carry on, only for Giancarlo Stanton to go down a few weeks later and the whole house to collapse?

Tauchman would've helped. Berti will help, when he returns. As always, though, the "crowded infield" always seems to cosmically figure itself out. LeMahieu should be back soon enough; Kevin Smith will to fill Berti's place in the meantime, while The Machine was shuffled to the 60-Day IL in a paperwork-only maneuver.