HOUSTON – Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel will miss the rest of the World Series after spraining his right knee in Game 5, an injury that led to the surprise activation of rookie catcher Korey Lee.
“He wasn’t crying, but he had tears in his eyes," Astros manager Dusty Baker said of Gurriel. “You could tell how badly that he wanted to play. We just couldn’t do it and had to replace him.”
Gurriel collided with Philadelphia first baseman Rhys Hoskins during a rundown between third base and home plate on Chas McCormick's seven-inning grounder during Thursday night's 3-2 win, taking a knee to his head. Trey Mancini hit for Gurriel in the eighth.
“He tried everything,” Baker said. “He came in yesterday, got treatment. Came in this morning early, got treatment. Didn’t respond well enough to play. He tried to run. And from a guy who had knee injuries, the hardest thing to do is to stop and then to round the bases or have lateral movement.”
General manager James Click said Gurriel was diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament.
Mancini, 0 for 18 in the postseason and 0 for 6 in the World Series, was starting at first base and hitting seventh in Game 6 on Saturday night. Christian Vázquez was the designated hitter and batting sixth.
Houston holds a 3-2 World Series lead. Click said the Astros considered leaving Gurriel on the roster in case he felt better on Sunday, when a Game 7 would be played.
“But it was obvious from how he was moving and from talking to him that he would not be available today or tomorrow,” Clicks said. “We did think about waiting 24 hours to see if maybe he would be available tomorrow if we end up playing tomorrow. But based on the diagnosis, that was not a possibility.”
The 38-year-old Gurriel hit .347 with two homers and four RBIs in the postseason, including .316 during the World Series.
"Yuli’s been one of our best hitters in the postseason, so, obviously, it stinks not having him,” McCormick said.
Lee was called into Baker's office when the 24-year-old arrived at Minute Maid Park about four hours before game time. Lee's parents, Lisa and Darrin, brother Kellen and girlfriend had flown in for the game.
“I haven't told them yet,” Lee said. “Hopefully they're going to get surprised when they get here.”
Lee was a first-round draft pick in 2019 and made his major league debut on July 1. He hit .160 (4 for 25) with four RBIs in 12 games with the Astros from July 1-31 after Jason Castro hurt his left knee. Lee hit .238 with 25 homers and 76 RBIs in 104 games at Triple-A Sugar Land, homering three times at Las Vegas on Aug. 23.
“It's unbelievable," Lee said. “It's a dream come true.”
AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken contributed to this report.
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