SEATTLE — Matt Carpenter has meant so much to the Yankees this year. His bat has sizzled, his clubhouse leadership has enlightened, his baseball resurrection story has inspired, and even his mustache has lit up social media.
Now the Yankees will have to face life without him for a while, at least on the field.
Carpenter, one of the biggest surprise success stories in all of Major League Baseball in 2022, fractured his left foot Monday night when he fouled off a Logan Gilbert slider in his first a-bat of the Yankees’ 9-4 victory over the Mariners in T-Mobile Park.
Carpenter swung at the 0-1 pitch and fouled the ball directly onto the top of his foot, as he described it. He took a minute to compose himself and was visited by manager Aaron Boone and one of the team’s trainers before resuming his at-bat, which ended in a strikeout on the next pitch.
Carpenter walked off the field gingerly and did not return for his next at-bat in the third inning. He was replaced by Tim Locastro.
The fracture was confirmed by an X-ray shortly thereafter, and Carpenter said he will likely travel to New York to see a foot specialist and learn about the next medical course of action and the timetable.
While there would be no assumptions made about how much time Carpenter would miss, manager Aaron Boone said after Monday’s game that it would definitely be an IL situation and that the team would likely make a roster move Tuesday.
“He’s just become such an important factor in that room,” Boone said. “And everyone loves him. So it’s a blow, but hopefully we get him back at some point.”
Carpenter, who was already in a boot and on crutches in the clubhouse after the game, chose to view it that way as well.
“I don’t want to say a number [of how long I could be out], because I just don’t know,” said Carpenter. “But I’m holding out hope that it’ll be a situation where I could come back in the middle of September and can contribute towards the stretch run.
“So we’ll see. I mean, that’s my mindset … that I’ll be back. I’m not going to let my mind go anywhere else that I don’t want. I’m not even going to accept the fact that this will be it for me.”
Carpenter, a three-time All-Star with the Cardinals who rediscovered his swing with the Yankees after being a part-time player in St. Louis the last two seasons, has put up a slash line of .305/.412/.727 with 15 homers and 37 RBIs in 46 games this year.
His clubhouse presence, however, will not go anywhere, and several Yankees said they were at the very least thankful for that.
“This guy knows a lot and we learn from him every single day,” outfielder Andrew Benintendi said. “So I’m definitely going to miss him on the field, but he’ll be around.”