Naylor of Indians breaks ankle after collision | News, Sports, Jobs

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CLEVELAND (AP) – The bustle and heart of Josh Naylor will be missing from the Cleveland lineup for a while.

Naylor will need surgery after breaking his right ankle on Sunday in Minnesota in a frightening collision with rookie second baseman Ernie Clement as they attempted to catch a pop fly.

Naylor, who was a clutch hitter and a bright spot for the Indians, slammed into Clement in the fourth inning of the Indians’ 8-2 loss. Naylor was sprinting to the infield trying to catch a ball hit by Jorge Polanco of Minnesota when he crashed into Clement.

The Indians said that Naylor has a “closed” fracture and dislocation. He will be absent indefinitely.

Naylor spent the night at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota. He returned to Ohio on Monday, accompanied by coach James Quinlan, who took Naylor to his apartment before coming to Progressive Field.

Naylor will be evaluated at the Cleveland Clinic this week by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Mark Berkowitz. The team have not given a timeline for Naylor’s return, but due to the severity of the injury and the recovery time required, it is likely that Naylor will miss the remainder of the season.

His loss is another blow to the Indians who, despite a series of injuries, have remained competitive.

” He has a big heart “ said director Terry Francona. “Like a lot of 23 and 24 year old kids, they can make mistakes during games. But you could tell him that and he would be, “OK, yes sir, I’ll try not to start over” which is what you are looking for.

“He continues to play. I really hope that going through that is what gets him to the finish line and becomes a good player again, it’s that attitude.

The impact with Clement spun Naylor, whose right foot was awkwardly planted under him. Naylor immediately reacted with pain, rolling and pounding his hands in the grass while calling for help.

His leg was placed in a cast and the 24-year-old was carried off the field on a stretcher as his shocked teammates consoled Clement and rallied.

“It was hard,” said Francona. “I must have walked away several times.”

The Indians put Naylor on the injured list before opening a three-game streak against Detroit.

Acquired by Cleveland last year in a trade with San Diego, Naylor has been a regular contributor this season. He’s hitting .253 with seven homers and 21 RBIs while playing both right field and first base.

The Canadian has also emerged as a fan favorite for his total effort and 0.714 (5v7) strike with a homerun 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 2 1/2 games behind first at AL Central.

The club are also without defending Cy Young winner Shane Bieber (shoulder), starters Aaron Civale (finger) and Zach Plesac (thumb), slugger Franmil Reyes and Gold Glove wide receiver Roberto Perez (finger).

Reyes trained at batting in Cleveland on Monday and could be set to return after a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus. He’ll play three straight games at Double-A Akron before the Indians consider activating him.

Needing another outfielder, the Indians recalled Oscar Mercado from Columbus Triple-A. The 26-year-old was once seen as part of Cleveland’s long-term plans after beating 0.269 and hitting 15 home runs as a rookie in 2019.

But Mercado fell apart all last season, hitting .128 in 36 games. After a slow start this spring, the Indians sent him to the minor leagues.

The Indians have also recalled southpaw Logan Allen, who is scheduled to start Thursday against Houston.

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press.

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