The Milwaukee Brewers are gearing up for the National League wild-card game in Washington, but all their best player can do is look ahead and hope.
Brewers star Christian Yelich, previously announced as out for the season with a fractured kneecap, told reporters on Tuesday before the game that he doesn’t want to rule out a potential Kirk Gibson-style return to the team if it makes the World Series.
Christian Yelich on the Kirk Gibson question: pic.twitter.com/3p5sEAo2ST— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 1, 2019
“It’s a thing that you have to see how it responds, how you progress, where you can be,” Yelich said. “I think that would be cutting it very close, but you don’t ever want to rule anything out in this. See how it goes. It’s progressing great. Thankfully, I haven’t had any setbacks or anything yet. We’ll see, it just takes time.”
Can Yelich return in time to pull a Kirk Gibson?
Gibson’s return to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 is well-remembered as one of the great moments in MLB postseason history. Voted the NL MVP that season, Gibson wasn’t expected to play in the World Series after sustaining two leg injuries in the NLCS. However, a limping Gibson was still sent to the plate in Game 1 against Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics.
Gibson’s subsequent homer, his fist pump while hobbling around the bases and Vin Scully’s classic call have been immortalized in baseball lore, something the Brewers would hope to emulate if they can make it that far.
“I’ve seen it, yeah. I wouldn’t even be capable of doing that kind of run right now,” Yelich said. “We’re a long, long, long ways away from that happening, but you never like to rule anything out.”
Yelich added that he isn’t currently ahead, but “right on track” in his rehab, which estimated to be 8-10 weeks long on Sept. 12 when the Brewers confirmed he wasn’t undergoing surgery. Eight weeks from Sept. 12 would land Yelich’s return at Nov. 8, well after the World Series.
Can the Brewers make it to the World Series without Yelich?
While getting even a hobbled Yelich back in the World Series would be a big boost for the Brewers, they still have to make it there for it to be a possibility.
That’s a tall order, even for a Brewers team that went 13-5 in his absence after the injury. Even missing 32 games this season, Yelich is thought to be a top-tier MVP candidate after hitting .329/.429/.671 this season, leading the NL in all three triple slash categories.
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