Matt Carpenter's season might be in jeopardy, but the veteran slugger isn't letting his mind wander to the worst-case scenario.
Carpenter suffered a fracture in his left foot during Monday night's win over the Mariners in Seattle, fouling a ball off the top of his back foot on the second pitch of his at-bat in the first inning.
Speaking to reporters after the game, the 36-year-old said he's holding out hope that he can contribute down the stretch.
"It's obviously not ideal. I'm pretty disappointed," Carpenter explained. "But my mindset is that this won't be the end for me here this year. I'm hopeful that I can come back and contribute. Don't have a timeline yet, but I'm hopeful for the best."
Carpenter said he knew something was wrong as soon as the foul ball struck his foot. After gathering himself and staying in the game, Carpenter swung through the next pitch he saw, striking out.
In a way, that strikeout worked to his favor, the veteran explained. If he needed to run to first base, he could've made things even worse.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone also had a bad feeling when he saw Carpenter hobbling after the foul ball. That's why he quickly left the dugout to visit Carpenter near the batter's box, checking to make sure he was alright.
Boone and the rest of the Yankees found out later in the game that Carpenter's foot was broken. Outfielder Tim Locastro was summoned off the bench to hit for Carpenter in the third inning.
"He's become such an important factor in that room, everyone loves him and he's been incredibly productive. It's a blow," Boone said of Carpenter. "Hopefully we'll get him back at some point."
Both Carpenter and Boone acknowledged that it's far too early to predict any sort of timetable. Carpenter will see a foot specialist and get a specific timeline over the next few days.
Either way, he's destined for a lengthy stay on the injured list, just his fifth trip to the IL across his 12-year career.
"I have no doubt in my mind that he's still going to have an impact on this team even while he's hurt," Yankees starter Jameson Taillon said after the game. "He's come in here and made an impact right away on a lot of people. He's not afraid to talk pitching with the pitchers, he's not afraid to give honest feedback, he's one of the best guys I've ever been around and played with."
Entering play on Monday night, Carpenter was hitting .307/.414/.732 with 15 home runs in just 46 games with the Yankees. He signed with New York after opting out of his minor league deal with the Rangers, seeking another shot at a big-league opportunity after a sour end to his 11-year career with the Cardinals last fall.
Just this past weekend, Carpenter made his return to St. Louis, receiving countless standing ovations in Busch Stadium.
When he signed with the Yankees in May, Carpenter was brought in as a depth option off the bench, an experienced left-handed hitter that had power potential with the short porch at Yankee Stadium. Since then, he blossomed into one the most dangerous and consistent hitters in this club's high-octane lineup. Carpenter's resurgence has been one of the best feel-good stories of the entire MLB season. He even started playing outfield again defensively for the first time in almost a decade as a means to get his bat in the lineup on a daily basis.
Now, he's out indefinitely and possibly, for the rest of the season.
A corresponding roster move will be made on Tuesday, filling Carpenter's spot on the active roster. Miguel Andújar and Estevan Florial could be called upon from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, outfielders capable of filling in for Carpenter until Giancarlo Stanton is ready to return from his stint on the 10-day injured list (with left Achilles tendinitis).
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