HOUSTON — Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who left Game 5 of the World Series early with a right knee injury, has been ruled out with a torn right MCL tendon and replaced by rookie Corey Lee. Houston manager Dusty Baker said Gurriel ran onto the field early Saturday to get his knee checked out.
Major League Baseball medical director Dr. Gary Greene confirmed the injury after speaking with the evaluating physician. MLB’s postseason rules state that permission may be sought from the Commissioner’s Office to replace a player who is unable to play due to injury.
“[Gurriel] tried everything,” Baker said. . He tried everything. He didn’t cry, but he had tears in his eyes. You could tell how much he wanted to play. He just couldn’t do it, and we had to replace him.”
With a third baseman, the Astros started Game 6 with Christian Vazquez hitting behind Martin Maldonado. Lee, who hit .160 in 12 games for Houston this year, was named to the club’s playoff cab team. Baker said he thought about hitting Vazquez at DH many times this year. One of the two catchers only did it once because he didn’t want to get hurt.
“No. 1, he’s a contact guy,” Baker said of Vazquez. “I can do a lot with him. I did it as an experiment just to see it once. I wanted to do it a few times, but if something happened to Mal, I didn’t necessarily have to … I really didn’t want to put the team in a losing situation. [the] DH, put a pitcher in there and hit the pitcher and go back to the National League days with only four seats.”
Gurriel injured his knee in the seventh inning of Game 5 and was awkwardly tagged out by Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins. The injury ended in the fourth quarter against Connor Brogdon after Gurriel’s impressive 48-hit streak ended this postseason.
Gurriel hit .347 (17-for-49) with two homers and four RBIs in the postseason, hitting .347 (17-for-49) in the postseason to help the Dodgers win the 2017 World Series in Game 7, going 6-for-1 in the World Series. with 19. Trey Mancini replaced him at first base in Game 5 and made a great play to intercept Kyle Schwarber’s line drive at first base.
“Yuli was one of our best hitters in the postseason, so it really stinks to not have him,” center Chas McCormick said. “But we’ve got guys who know their roles, and we’re confident in whoever is in that lineup. We’ve got a lot of good shots on this team.”
Astros Game 6 starter Framber Valdez has the highest possession in MLB, and Gurriel is the best outfielder who won the Gold Glove Award last year. So it’s clear that Mancini will have plenty of opportunities at first base. Baker said that’s because Mancini initially has the most experience in the position.
“It’s Mancini’s time to shine,” Baker said.