ST. PETERSBURG — Following evaluation by team doctors, Tampa Bay utility defender Daniel Robertson, has been diagnosed with a dislocated thumb that will require season ending surgery.
Initially thought to be a mere sprain, Robertson injured his left thumb on an awkward headfirst slide into second base that included his helmet flying off as he pulled up from the defender. He remained in the game as a base runner, but found he could not grip a bat in the dugout and was subsequently removed from Friday’s game.
“A tough guy to replace” Kevin Cash said following this morning’s confirmation of a need for surgery. “We’re gonna need to dive into our versatility a little bit more, but Robbie wasn’t just versatile. He was good wherever you put him, and he was giving good at bats.”
Daniel Robertson has been Tampa Bay’s leader in Wins Above Replacement, having helped the team on both sides of the ball and with his base running as well. He might have been a shoe-in for the Don Zimmer award (the team MVP) before the injury, but should still contend for the honor even with the next two months out of reach, so successful was his season.
Robertson played games at second, third, short, first, and left field this season as Cash’s go-to answer for the defensive line up, becoming more than the bench role he played in 2017, and appearing in 79% of the Rays games this season, thanks large in part to a newly developed swing that vaulted his wRC+ by more than fifty points, up to a 128 wRC+ on the season.
Kevin Cash summed up the loss well for the Rays when he called it, “unfortunate.”
“I probably knew that surgery or no surgery he was going to miss most of the season, if not all of it,” Cash said. “[He’s] such a big part. Even once the game started, not having him out there, not having him on the bench to do different things, it’s gonna hurt.”