Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz suffered a broken ankle in a home-plate collision with White Sox catcher Seby Zavala, which resulted in a benches-clearing scuffle on Sunday afternoon.
A slow ground ball off the bat of Ke’Bryan Hayes bounced down the third baseline, and Cruz decided to race home to add a run to the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning.
But White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada was quick after the ball found his glove, transferring it to his right hand and firing it home to Zavala, who was ready to tag Cruz out.
Cruz attempted to slide but appeared to get caught up in the dirt, which led to his collision with Zavala, who stood up and seemed to have some words for Cruz as the Pirates shortstop writhed in pain.
Almost immediately, Pirates’ Carlos Santana had words with Zavala, and then the rest of the Pirates’ bench began heading out of the dugout, with the White Sox following suit.
Chicago’s Tim Anderson and Michael Kopech were among those who got involved in the scrum that even had the bullpens empty, with pitchers running from the outfield to join the scuffle.
Zavala also was seen being held back while exchanging words that likely wouldn’t be fit for TV as trainers continued to look at Cruz.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters after the 1-0 Pirates win that Cruz suffered a broken ankle, and though it wasn’t said directly, that injury might end his 2023 season.
Cruz is one of the most promising prospects in MLB, showcasing true five-tool abilities in the 87 games he played with Pittsburgh last season. He’s displayed his rocket arm at short and has belted baseballs into the Allegheny River at exit velocities more than 115 mph.
If Cruz has to miss the rest of the year, it would be a huge loss for the Pirates as they continue to rebuild their franchise with their young talent.