One of the biggest fears of a Major League Baseball team is having one of its players injured during the World Baseball Classic.
And for the second time, it happened to the New York Yankees, as shortstop Didi Gregorius sustained a strained subscapularis muscle in his right (throwing) shoulder while playing for the Netherlands in the WBC.
"It is not what I wanted to hear," said Gregorius, who batted .276 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs with the Yankees last season.
Gregorius, who was injured during an exhibition game Saturday, likely will not return until May at the earliest, according to New York general manager Brian Cashman.
"Those are some concerns you have when players go to WBC," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You always worry about the injury thing. I know it is important for the game, but he is really important to our team."
Gregorius will not participate in any baseball activities for two weeks.
The 27-year-old Amsterdam native was 8 for 23 (.348) with a home run, four doubles and eight RBIs in six games for the Netherlands, which was eliminated by Puerto Rico 4-3 loss in 11 innings Monday in the semifinals.
New York's options to replace Gregorius include utility man Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade, originally slated for Triple-A. The Yankees also have veterans Ruben Tejada and Pete Kozma at their disposal.
Then-Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who retired after last season, injured his wrist in the 2013 WBC.