Yankees place Anthony Rizzo on IL over post-concussion syndrome
The New York Yankees have officially placed first baseman Anthony Rizzo on the 10-day injured list due to "post-concussion syndrome," per a report by The Atlantic.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone suspected that the ailment resulted from Rizzo's collision with San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. during a pickoff attempt at Yankee Stadium on May 28.
On Wednesday night, Rizzo was also absent from the Yankees' lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays. Addressing the media the following day, Boone revealed that Rizzo had voiced concerns about feeling "foggy" over the past few days.
After extensive tests, doctors confirmed that Rizzo was dealing with cognitive impairment.
"He's just been complaining the last few days of some fogginess," Boone told The Athletic's Chris Kirschner. "So we ran him through a battery of tests, neurological stuff. It came back as cognitive impairment."
Decline in performance
Despite passing MLB's concussion testing, Rizzo's performance has noticeably suffered, with a meager .172 batting average and just one homer in 169 at-bats since the incident. Before the encounter with the Padres, Rizzo had been performing exceptionally well, boasting a .304 batting average with 11 homers in 204 at-bats.
In the sixth inning of the May 28 game, Rizzo had to leave the field following a collision with Tatis at first base.
"Waking up, the way I'd describe it as you go to bed sober and you wake up a little hungover," Rizzo explained his symptoms. "When that happens, I'm like that doesn't seem normal."
After the collision, Rizzo noticed a decline in his batting performance and attributed it to the typical ups and downs that baseball players face, expecting to bounce back.
However, as his struggles persisted at the plate, the 33-year-old veteran started to feel increasingly anxious about his prolonged slump.
"I've struggled plenty in this game, but I've also done it for a long time to know that you usually come out and there's signs of coming out," Rizzo said in a team-provided video.
"I remember talking to someone like 'Oh, do you feel you're coming out of this soon?' I answered honestly. 'No, I don't,' because it just, I couldn't feel what you're trying to feel as a hitter and I don't know if that's related. And I guess now we can, we can link two and two together."
Rizzo disclosed that he had taken the initiative to review his batting mechanics before an evaluation by a neurologist, particularly focusing on timing.
He noticed a recurring issue of being constantly late in his responses at the plate. Additionally, he observed disparities between how he perceived the ball's location during the game and its actual location upon reviewing videos.
Rizzo received an explanation from the doctors that not all concussions are alike, and there are instances where symptoms may not manifest immediately but develop progressively over time, which appears to be the scenario in his case.
He expressed that he isn't afraid and has initiated a fresh routine along with taking supplements known for their effectiveness in treating concussions. He is optimistic that this new program can help him make a swift return to the lineup, but there is currently no fixed timeline for his comeback.
Rizzo found a silver lining in the test results, as they suggested that his two-month slump was likely due to post-concussion symptoms.
He remains hopeful that he can reclaim his earlier form as a hitter. However, for the three-time All-Star, the most challenging aspect of his condition is his absence from the team, particularly when they are in the middle of a playoff push.