Yankees-Padres series brings back unfortunate memory of Anthony Rizzo's concussion

Really didn't enjoy this.
Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees
Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees / Mike Stobe/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

This time last year, the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres were in the Bronx for a Memorial Day weekend series. The Yankees took two of three to somehow improve to 32-23 before their ghastly 82-80 finish, and this is where everything started to crumble for New York.

In the series finale on Sunday, Anthony Rizzo went down after a collision with Fernando Tatis Jr. at first base. It was an 8-3 game in the sixth inning when catcher Kyle Higashioka caught Tatis Jr. sleeping with too big of a lead at first base.

Higgy rifled a throw down to Rizzo, who applied the tag for the out, but not before Tatis' clumsy attempt to get back to the base saw him crash into Rizzo's head. Rizzo came up dazed, gave a little shove to Tatis for the circus behavior, and then left the game with what was deemed a neck injury.

He would miss a few more games as he worked to recover, but Rizzo was never the same after this moment. He was later diagnosed with "cognitive impairment" after playing with vision/timing issues for months.

Rizzo was legitimately one of the best hitters in the league up until this incident. He was hitting .304 with an .880 OPS and 11 home runs through May 28. When he was shut down for the season — again, after the Yankees' medical staff failed to identify what seemed to be a very obvious issue — Rizzo was hitting .244 with a .706 OPS, and hit just one home run and logged nine RBI in over two months of play.

Yankees-Padres series brings back unfortunate memory of Anthony Rizzo's concussion

That next weekend, Aaron Judge slammed his toe into the concrete wall base at Dodger Stadium, and that's when the Yankees' season officially ended. Rizzo couldn't see, Judge missed 56 games, and the rest of the offense suffered immensely.

Fans were horribly worried about Rizzo heading into the 2024 season, too. His injury was not only serious — it was scary. He was disadvantaged because of head trauma that affected his vision. timing, ability to sleep, and overall wellbeing. He talked about dealing with horrible headaches and constantly feeling fatigued.

Thankfully, though Rizzo isn't exactly tearing the cover off the ball, he's very much recovered. Through 51 games, he's hitting .254 with a .708 OPS, 7 homers and 24 RBI. Sure, fans would like to see more, but his two-month run after last year's injury was rock bottom.

We'd venture to guess Rizzo is still working on getting his timing down as he re-acclimates to game play. He's only got two months under his belt since being put on the shelf on Aug. 2 of last year.

A little revenge series against the Padres could be exactly what the doctor ordered for Rizzo to turn it up and put all of this in the rearview. If Tatis is on first base though, just give him the free pass to second base. We'd rather not re-live this again.