Yankees fan favorite second base prospect hits IL after painful-looking hand injury

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One Yankees infielder returns in DJ LeMahieu, two go down in Jon Berti and Triple-A's most impressive performer. Our way of life.

After plenty of recent (and well-deserved) praise, Yankees infielder (and also occasional center fielderjust for kicks?) Caleb Durbin hit his first snag since last summer over the weekend when an inside fastball drilled him painfully on an appendage.

Durbin stayed in the game briefly (of course he did) and rounded the bases, but he didn't make it much further. Now, he's headed to the minors' nebulous "7-day IL," which could mean he's either waiting for the swelling in his hand to go down or it's already been amputated.

Yankees infield prospect Caleb Durbin hits minor-league IL after hand injury

At the least -- at the very least -- a hand injury isn't structural. It may take Durbin a while to recover, but once everything settles, he should be good as new (and, as we've learned, his baseline is very good). While you never want a developing prospect to lose reps, Durbin also doesn't have ... much more to prove at Triple-A? He's running wild, per usual, swiping 20 bags in 47 games. He's maintained a torrid power pace, ripping 17 doubles, a triple, and three homers in 177 at-bats, matching 2023's doubles total in 76 fewer at-bats/22 fewer games. Like clockwork, he's managed to hit nearly .300, keep his OBP over .400, wreak havoc on the base paths, and float around the field while looking rock solid defensively.

Before the injury, people were starting to notice Durbin's production. As original inhabiters of Durbin Island, we're not easily shocked by praise for the Yankees' hidden gem, but Bill Madden of The Daily News made some impressive assumptions over the weekend, writing:

"Torres looks to be easily replaced at second base next year by 5'6 Caleb Durbin, the José Altuve clone who Brian Cashman acquired from the (Atlanta Braves) in December 2022 for Lucas Luetge (remember him?) and has developed into a hitting machine at Triple-A who almost never strikes out."

Easily replaced, huh? Not just regular replaced? We see you.

Torres' future is very much up for grabs, but unfortunately, Durbin's present is, too, all of a sudden. There probably isn't a Yankee path for Durbin until next season, and hey, maybe this even helps keep him hidden a little longer from trade deadline sharks. The 24-year-old certainly deserves at least a shot to compete for a big-league role next year, and the 47-game sample he's already posted this year is more than enough evidence of that point.