Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo season ends with post-concussion syndrome

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NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo will miss the rest of the season because of post-concussion syndrome.

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“Anthony will be closed for the year,” New York manager Aaron Boone said before Tuesday night’s game against Detroit. “I would say everything is going well. His last physical showed everything we expect in terms of improvement and where he is, but he hasn’t been cleared to play yet.

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“So they want to do at least another investigation in probably a couple of weeks. So we were a little pressed for time, but he continued training. He continues to make the right cognitive improvements.”

Rizzo was placed on the injured list on August 3, more than two months after he was injured on May 28 when he collided with San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. during a pickoff game.

New York initially said Rizzo had a stiff neck. He sat out a three-game series in Seattle before returning to the lineup on June 2 at Dodger Stadium, but the three-time All-Star then went into an extended tailspin at the plate.

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When he finally landed on the injured list early last month, Boone said Rizzo had recently told the club’s training staff that he was feeling unsafe. He then underwent neurological tests which revealed cognitive impairment.

Rizzo and Boone both said they believed his concussion problems stemmed from the collision with Tatis at Yankee Stadium in May. Rizzo passed Major League Baseball’s concussion test, but afterward batted just .172 with one home run in 169 at-bats.

Before the game against the Padres, he posted a .304 batting average with 11 home runs in 204 at-bats for a Yankees team that has since been eliminated from the playoff race and sits in last place in the AL East.


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“I think you regret it when something isn’t diagnosed right away. So you always want everything to be diagnosed, but sometimes that’s not the reality,” Boone said. “I think the right things and the right steps happened. So you can’t go back. But of course, one would have liked to have known immediately exactly what he would be dealing with.”

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When he went on the injured list, Rizzo was considered every week. He was given three nutritional supplements to treat concussions and was allowed to exercise.

“I think he’s doing well and I think the doctors and him have seen the progress they wanted to see. So I feel like he’s encouraged by the situation,” Boone said. “We’ll probably cut back on some baseball activity just because it’s not necessary right now. But I was at the gym with him earlier and he was behind. He’s fine.”

Boone is optimistic that Rizzo’s concussion issues won’t persist for the rest of his career. The 34-year-old signed a two-year, $40 million contract with the Yankees last November that includes a $17 million team option for 2025 with a $6 million buyout.

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“I don’t want to go out of line, especially when it comes to the severity of head injuries and so on. But I understand that in the last month he has seen the specialist and the things he is asking him to do. I think everyone has been very encouraged by his work and he continues to make progress. Hopefully that’s not the case,” Boone said.

A four-time Gold Glove winner, Rizzo helped the Chicago Cubs to a World Series title in 2016, ending their 108-year championship drought.

He finished this season with a .244 batting average, 12 home runs, 41 RBIs and an OPS of .706, by far his worst numbers since he posted a .523 OPS in his first 49 major league games with San Diego in 2011.

“He was a model of consistency in a really good career,” Boone said. “So I think the fact that we can trace it has obviously caught everyone’s attention, which is alarming to begin with – but also, OK, there’s probably a reason now why you weren’t the player you really were .” Her entire career. Now I think the things he’s doing and the tools we have now, I think helping people who have been through something like that should put him on a good footing for the future, that’s the hope .”

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