Monday, October 20, 2014
OUR FUTURE AT 3RD JUST HIT A BUMP IN THE ROAD
For Tony Conigliaro, it marked an early turning point in a promising career and the loss of an entire season. For Sammy Sosa, it merely meant getting part of a game off before resuming his final 40 home run campaign. A bean ball can be a scary thing to watch for a fan, and an even scarier thing to come back from if you are a player.
The Yankees 2013 first round pick Eric Jagielo now finds himself in the unenviable position of having to bounce back from a nasty beaning. On September 28th, the number 3 prospect in the organization took a fastball to the face while playing in an instructional league game. The pitch resulted in a “a slight fracture in his zygomatic arch near his left eye," according to MILB.com. Because of the severity of his injury, Jagielo will miss the entire Arizona Fall League as he recuperates.
The 22-year-old third baseman out of the University of Notre Dame has impressed the organization thus far, hitting 18 home runs in 92 games in 2014 while splitting his time between the Gulf Coast League (rookie) and the Florida State League (advanced A). The left-hander represents the future of the Yankees at third base.
The beanball is part of baseball. Pitchers need to establish the inside part of the plate as their own if they are to be successful. If they can’t, their stay in a game is short-lived. Unfortunately, not every pitch is going to end up where it is intended. No hurler intends to throw at a batter’s head, but pitches like the one that hit Jagielo will happen.
The way he rebounds is now dependent upon how the third baseman’s body and mind can heal. The Yankees director of player personnel, John Kremer says that Jagielo’s vision is OK and the team expects him back for Spring Training. While his body should be fine, it’s the young star’s mental makeup that will determine how much of a setback this will be.
Conigliaro was also 22-years-old when he was beaned. He was a power-hitting outfielder that already had recorded three seasons of 24 or more home runs in the major leagues, and had hit 20 through 95 games when he went down. After a season off, the outfielder bounced back and hit 56 home runs over two seasons before damage to his retina was too much to overcome. He played his last game at age 30.
Sosa had his helmet shattered by the pitch that hit him in 2003. The 34-year-old suffered a few cuts and was removed from the game, but was back in the lineup the very next day. He would hit 40 home runs and drive in 103 that year.
If Jagielo’s reaction following his injury is any indication, we don’t have to worry about him resuming his rise through the organization. He took to Instagram from his hospital bed and posted a photo with a caption thanking everyone for their thoughts and prayers while assuring that the surgery was successful.
Given the current state of affairs on the big league club, we can only hope that Jagielo can put this behind him and resume his rise through the ranks. While we wait out the contract of Alex Rodriguez, and hopefully re-sign Chase Headley for the present occupation of the hot corner, it remains slated to be Jagielo’s unless fate determines otherwise.
--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
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