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'One of the Best Catches I've Ever Seen': Yankees Sound Off on Gio Urshela's Heroic Grab

New York Yankees shortstop Gio Urshela dove into Rays' dugout to make an incredible catch against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, leaving a lasting impression on his teammates.

Off the bat, Austin Meadows' pop fly in the sixth inning on Sunday looked like it was going to land harmlessly in foul territory.

That's when Gio Urshela sprinted into frame, putting his body on the line to make a spectacular grab, helping to keep the ballgame tied.

"Given the circumstance of Game 162 and everything, that's got to be one of the best catches I've ever seen," starter Jameson Taillon said.

Urshela began at shortstop, anchoring the left side of the infield while the rest of New York's defense was shifted to the right side. 

With a great jump off the crack of the bat, Urshela tracked the popup while running at full speed toward the Rays' dugout. Extending his left arm just in time to haul it in, the defensive wizard made the grab, took two more steps and fell directly into the dugout, crashing into Tampa Bay's bench. 

After impact, and once the play was ruled an out by umpire Ángel Hernández—who also tumbled over the railing—members of the Rays waved toward New York's dugout. A split second of jubilation for the Yankees and their fans quickly transitioned to concern.

"He looked like a missile flying in there and it scared me to death," Boone recalled. "I jumped out and ran straight over there not knowing what I was gonna see. On the dead run like that, you go headfirst into that bench or something. I mean really scary stuff."

Aaron Judge had a clear vantage point of the play from right field, wondering initially if the ball would travel back toward catcher Gary Sánchez who was also tracking it down. 

What happened next, to Judge, was further proof of the kind of player Urshela is, willing to put his body on the line to make a play and help his team. 

"That's a competitor right there," Judge explained. "That's a guy that leaves it all on the field, sacrificing his body for the team and this game. That just speaks volumes to what type of player Gio Urshela is."

For several minutes, a rambunctious crowd at Yankee Stadium was brought down to a murmur, excited after witnessing the highlight play, but worried about Urshela's status. Cameras panned into the Rays dugout, showing Urshela sprawled out on the ground, being tended to by members of each team's training staff. His teammates crowded around the dugout railing in unison, trying to see if Urshela was OK.


Looking back, Urshela admitted that in that moment, he thought he was seriously injured. He didn't remember much after making the catch, just feeling a jolt of pain in his quad, calf and elbow.

"I feel like that was really bad because I felt like a lot of pain in that moment and I don't even know what was happening," he said.

The catch ended the sixth inning, finishing off a spotless frame for right-hander Chad Green. New York would eventually go on to win 1-0 on a walk-off single from Aaron Judge in the ninth.

READ: Aaron Judge Caps Off Stellar Regular Season in Fitting Fashion

Like the rest of his teammates, Green was unsure what he would see when he walked over to check on Urshela, but was pleasantly surprised when the infielder rose to his feet, limping back to New York's dugout.

"Going full speed, knowing that there's no place to go once you do catch the ball was incredible," Green said. "And then, obviously, not knowing what happened afterwards, or if he was going to be okay, was a little scary."

Urshela would stay in the game initially, but he was taken out of the game in the ninth inning on defense. On Monday, Boone assured that Urshela is doing well and would've been able to play had there been a game. He should be good to go for Tuesday's American League Wild Card Game at Fenway Park.

"He bruised his thigh. That's where he slammed the most," Boone told reporters Tuesday afternoon, giving an official diagnosis. "He's got a little cut on his calf/shin area but mostly banged his thigh."

Bottom line, Urshela and the Yankees got extremely lucky. Urshela's heroic grab could've been a lot worse, possibly keeping the infielder out for the rest of the playoffs with a significant injury. 

New York will certainly be better off with Urshela on defense Tuesday in a one-game playoff. Taillon added that Urshela's impact extends beyond that one memorable grab.

"He's played great defense all year," Taillon said. "Just one of the best teammates I've ever played with. And he shows up on defense every single time, so that was a big moment."

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