Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop O’Neil Cruz, 25, spoke for the first time since his injury.
Cruz met with the media before the team’s home game against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Thursday (April 4).
On April 10, Cruz suffered a major injury during a home game against the Chicago White Sox when he collided with the opposing catcher while sliding at home, fracturing his tibia. It was his first interview since the injury.
“My rehab is going as expected,” he said, “and it’s good to see my teammates. I’m happy to see my teammates, they’re all doing their best and working hard to win, so it feels good,” he said.
“At first I didn’t realize I was injured, and then I started to feel pain in my leg,” he said of his injury, adding, “No one wants to get hurt. But it’s part of the game, and it happened to me, and I have to accept it. I’m trying to get as good as I can,” he said of his approach to dealing with the injury.
Still in a brace and on crutches, he added: “I’ll take it off soon. I’m getting better every day. It’s important for me to feel 100 percent for myself first. After that, I’ll work on my rehabilitation,” he said, indicating that his condition is improving.
On the possibility of an in-season return, he said: “It’s good to hear it’s not season-ending. But (deciding when to return) is not something I can control. I’ll leave everything to the medical team. When they say I’m ready, I’ll be ready,” he said, adding that he was cautious about the timing of his return.
“Of course I miss the field, but I feel good that my teammates are fighting well,” he said, adding that he hasn’t missed a game since his injury.
As for Tucupita Makano and Rodolfo Castro, who are filling in at shortstop for him, he said, “I’ve known them since I was in the minor leagues. They’re doing a great job and I’m happy for them,” he said.
“Getting hurt is part of the game, it’s something I can’t control,” he said of spending time with his wife and children. It happens,” he said, 안전놀이터 adding that he is trying to stay positive. When asked about signing a contract extension with the likes of Brian Hayes and Brian Reynolds, he said, “Again, it’s out of my control. It would be great to have them here for a long time,” he said.
Coach Derek Shelton said, “There’s been no change in his expected return. We’ll probably know more once we start training in earnest. I’m very happy with his mindset right now. He’s got a smile on his face. He’s in good spirits,” he said, indicating that the team’s signature player is doing well in his rehabilitation.
Today is the day of his bobblehead presentation. Cruz, who revealed that this was his second bobblehead after his Triple-A days, smiled and said, “It’s ugly like me. It came out good,” he said with a smile and a comment about the bobblehead.