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Yankees 1B Anthony Rizzo exits Sunday vs. Padres due to neck injury as precaution

Rizzo was injured while tagging Fernando Tatis Jr. on a pickoff double-play.

Anthony Rizzo #48 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after striking out in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 21, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Update — The Yankees announced Rizzo exited the game as a precaution after being hit in the neck.

New York Yankees 1B Anthony Rizzo was forced to exit Sunday’s game vs. the San Diego Padres after staggering to the ground after tagging out Fernando Tatis Jr. on a pickoff double-play late in the game. It’s unclear what actually happened on the play to cause the injury but Rizzo appears to be in a lot of pain.

This isn’t good for the Yankees, who still maintain a lead over the Padres on Sunday. A win on Sunday would mean another series win for New York, which is back in the Wild Card race in the AL after struggling a bit in April. The Yankees have only lost one series all month long, earlier this week vs. the Baltimore Orioles. Rizzo’s absence would be a tough blow if it is long-term. The injury could be lower-body given how Rizzo stretched awkwardly on the play.

So far this season, Rizzo has played at an MVP level. He was batting over .300 entering Sunday’s contest with 11 HRs and 31 RBI through the first two months of 2023. Rizzo was re-signed by the Yankees this offseason on a two-year, $40 million deal with an option for a third season in 2025.

It’s going to be hard to replace Rizzo in fantasy baseball. Internally, the Yankees should play DJ LeMahieu plenty at first base if Rizzo is going to miss any time. Josh Donaldson is expected to be come off the injured list soon. The Yankees also said Donaldson will play a regular role, which would definitely be the case if Rizzo is out. Donaldson can play third with DJ at first. The Yankees could also call up a first baseman from the minors. Billy McKinney plays first base for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in AAA.