If Team Netherlands is finally going to win the World Baseball Classic, it will have to do so without one of its biggest stars in the tournament's final round.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius has left the national team and returned to the New York Yankees' camp with a right shoulder injury, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Monday, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
Girardi revealed that Gregorius suffered a hematoma of the subcapsular muscle in his right shoulder, and said the 27-year-old will undergo further testing Tuesday.
"It's obviously not what you want to hear, but hopefully it's something short," Girardi told Randy Miller of NJ.com. "But again, we have not seen him. The evaluation from the doctor was his strength was really good. But we've got to see him.
"We'll keep our fingers crossed that it's not much."
Gregorius had been one of the Netherlands' best hitters in an infield filled with major-league stars. The Amsterdam native slashed .385/.652/.348 with five extra-base hits, eight RBIs, and five runs scored across six games in the first two rounds while splitting time between shortstop and DH. He reportedly felt some pain in his shoulder during the Dutch side's exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, according to Newsday's Anthony Rieber.
Candidates to take over at shortstop should Gregorius not be ready for Opening Day include backup Ronald Torreyes and minor-league free-agent signing Ruben Tejada - both of whom have several years of big-league experience - as well as prospect Tyler Wade, who's had an impressive spring to date.
In his second season with the Yankees in 2016, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 over 153 games and reached career highs in home runs (20) and doubles (32).
The Dutch will square off with Puerto Rico in the first WBC semifinal Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
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