Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz underwent surgery last night for a fractured fibula, the team announced today. The Pirates say they “anticipate a return to action in 4 months.”
Cruz was injured Sunday in a collision at home plate with Chicago White Sox catcher Seby Zavala in the seventh inning of the game between the Pirates and White Sox. After the collision Zavala got up and had harsh words for Cruz, who was writhing on the ground in pain. That prompted Carlos Santana of the Pirates to confront Zavala, followed by the benches emptying, though no punches were thrown.
Cruz, 24, finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting in 2022 after slashing .233/.294/.450 with ten stolen bases in 361 plate appearances, posting a 2.3 bWAR. Cruz is incredibly tooled up and his throwing arm from shortstop has been measured by Statcast as putting up some of the highest velocities on infield throws recorded, and he puts up extremely high exit velocities at the plate, as well, when he makes contact. The contact, however, has been his biggest problem — he struck out 126 times last year for a 34.9% K rate, though he had lowered that to 20% in 2023 prior to his injury.