Just a few weeks after his sixth (how is that possible) season in the Bronx got underway, Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton found himself laid up with another soft-tissue muscle injury. This time, it was a Grade 2 hamstring strain suffered accelerating between first and second on a double that he -- and everyone in the building -- believed would leave the yard.
Yankee fans were no longer apoplectic, as they would've been in 2018 or 2019. Instead, they were mostly saddened and confused. How could this athletic marvel be so susceptible to muscle pulls and soreness from the slightest impacts? How could his body betray him so regularly?
The 33-year-old slugger is just as perplexed as anyone regarding his propensity for lower-body injuries suffered on seemingly innocuous plays. And while the repetitive issues are obviously bringing him down, he deserves the utmost credit for the way he handled this upcoming absence with the media.
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton earns points for how he's handled injuries with media
This quote is wholly depressing, but the level of accountability to himself and to the team is impressive.
At this point, after being knocked out three separate times in 2019, including in the playoffs, followed by a Tampa Bay turf-caused absence in 2020 and All-Star break issue in 2022, Stanton could be disillusioned. He could dissociate whenever he feels pain. He could disappear.
Hell, he could easily be Aaron Hicks. He's frustrated, too, but hasn't handled it with humility and grace. Instead, he's swung too hard, flung helmets on the grass, and complained to the media about his muddled role.
Stanton, who must be as angry as anyone, delivered cold words to himself rather than his teammates and the Yankees' decision-makers. He put the team in a tough spot. He can't have this continue to happen. He knows what typically happens to the rest of the offense when he disappears (and once he returns and has to find his rhythm), and he's dumbfounded that he's been transported back here already, on an otherwise-innocent play.
Some people will continue to have limited patience for Stanton. After all, he's not supposed to be breaking down like this; some will write him off, no matter how accountable he is when these issues crop up.
But nobody's been hit harder by his body's betrayal than the man himself. He's only 33. He's 118 home runs away from 500 and a Hall of Fame spot. He's a central figure in the New York Yankees' pursuit of a championship, something his career will be incomplete without. Those numbers are easily attainable, and a title is highly possible -- as long as this stops, here and now.
It's not stopping. And it's fair for you to be dismayed and bewildered. But nobody's more upset than Stanton himself, and he's not running from the problem.