CLEVELAND – The hustle and bustle of Josh naylor they will be missing from the Cleveland Indians’ lineup for a while.
Naylor will need surgery after fracturing his right ankle Sunday at Minnesota during a terrifying collision with rookie second baseman. Ernie clement while trying to catch a fly ball.
Naylor, who has been a decisive hitter and bright spot for the Indians, crashed into Clement in the fourth inning of Cleveland’s 8-2 loss. Naylor was running into the box to try to catch a ball hit by Jorge Polanco Minnesota when he crashed into Clement.
The Indians said Naylor has a ‘closed’ fracture and dislocation. It will go out indefinitely.
Naylor spent the night at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota. He returned to Ohio on Monday, accompanied by coach James Quinlan, who drove Naylor to his apartment before arriving at Progressive Field.
Naylor will be evaluated at the Cleveland Clinic this week by Foot / Ankle Specialist Dr. Mark Berkowitz. The team did not give a schedule for Naylor’s return, but due to the severity of the injury and the required recovery time, Naylor is likely to miss the rest of this season.
Their loss is another blow for the Indians, who despite a series of injuries have remained competitive.
“He has a big heart,” manager Terry Francona said. “As with many 23 or 24 year olds, they can make some mistakes during games. But you can tell him that and he says, ‘Okay, yes sir, I’ll try not to do that’ again, ‘which is what. What are you looking for.
“He just keeps playing. I’m very hopeful that he will go through this, whatever it takes to get him to the finish line and be a good player again, it’s that attitude.”
The impact with Clement spun Naylor, whose right foot was under him. Naylor immediately reacted in pain, rolling and slapping the grass with her hands as she called for help.
His leg was placed in an air cast and the 24-year-old was carried off the field on a stretcher as his surprised teammates comforted Clement and recovered.
“It was difficult,” Francona said. “I had to walk away a couple of times.”
The Indians placed Naylor on the disabled list before opening a three-game series against Detroit.
Acquired by Cleveland last year in a trade with San Diego, Naylor has consistently contributed this season. He’s hitting .253 with seven homers and 21 RBIs while playing both right field and first base.
The Canadian has also become a fan favorite for his all-out effort and hitting .714 (5-of-7) with a home run and three RBIs against the New York Yankees in last year’s playoffs.
Naylor’s injury is perhaps the most serious for the Indians, who are two and a half games behind first place in the AL Central.
The club also does not have the current Cy Young winner, Shane bieber (shoulder), the openers Aaron Civale (finger) and Zach Plesac (thumb), the slugger Franmil Reyes and the Golden Glove catcher Roberto Perez (finger).
Reyes took batting practice in Cleveland on Monday and could be close to returning after a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. He will play three straight games at Double-A Akron before the Indians consider activating him.
In search of another outfielder, the Indians called up Oscar Mercado from Triple-A Columbus. The 26-year-old was once considered part of Cleveland’s long-term plans after he hit .269 and hit 15 home runs as a rookie in 2019.
But Mercado was down all of last season, hitting .128 in 36 games. After a slow start this spring, the Indians sent him to the minor leagues.
Cleveland also called up left-hander Logan Allen, who is scheduled to start Thursday against Houston.