Christian Yelich, the reigning National League MVP and Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder, will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his kneecap, the team announced Tuesday.
Yelich was injured in the first inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins, when he fouled a ball off his right knee. The 27-year-old remained down for several minutes, then limped off the field.
Brewers Manager Craig Counsell said the team felt “awful” for Yelich, whom he called “a special player.”
“It’s a joy to watch him play every day. He’s the best at what he does,” he said. “So not being able to see that every day is definitely, you know, no good. But we’ve got to respond, and we have a great opportunity, and the guys battled to a great win tonight.”
The Brewers beat the Marlins, 4-3, and were 1½ games back of the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild-card spot. The Cubs played at the San Diego Padres late Tuesday.
Yelich, who has 44 home runs and 97 RBI this season, was “crushed,” Counsell said. Players learned about the injury during Tuesday’s game, he said.
“It’s awful news,” Counsell said. “I went out there, and his whole body was shaking. So I was — we were really concerned.”
After the game, Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager David Stearns called the injury a “gut punch.” Yelich was expected to fly from South Florida to Milwaukee on Wednesday for additional testing, Stearns said. The team did not know whether he would need surgery.
“We feel awful for Christian. This is a guy who’s carried us in a number of ways over the last two years — could’ve been 2½ weeks away from a repeat Most Valuable Player Award — so I think that’s where our thoughts go first,” Stearns said. “From a team perspective, we have a lot of guys in that clubhouse who will hurt tonight.”
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