Darren O’Day knew as soon as he fell in the outfield while running sprints that his season, and maybe even his career, might be over.
During a workout on July 6, O’Day went down and won’t be getting back up on a mound in 2021, as the righty reliever will undergo season-ending surgery due to a “serious” hamstring strain.
“I was sprinting in the outfield and thought somebody had run into me,” O’Day told reporters on Tuesday. “I fell down and my hamstring just popped. I kind of rolled around on the ground and knew exactly what happened because the injury I previously had in 21018 with the Orioles, I finally tore my hamstring enough in 2018 to have it repaired. After going through some of the subsequent MRI from then and now, the repair never fully healed. It seems like it was bound to happen at some point, and unfortunately it happened during the season.”
O’Day signed with the Yanks this offseason, but pitched just 10.2 innings in his first year in pinstripes, and it will end at that mark, and potentially end at that number for his Yankee career. O’Day has a player option for 2022, but the 38-year-old could decide to retire after a 14-year-career.
“I’ve given it a lot of thought actually and still haven’t come up with the right answer,” O’Day said. “I’m terrible at big decisions like that. It was actually my first thought walking off the field, I knew in my heart of hearts what had happened. It got pretty emotional.”
O’Day would likely have to make that decision shortly after the World Series, when his player option would need to be exercised, but he will take between now and then to rehab his hamstring following surgery and contemplate his baseball future. But his 2021 season comes to a deflating end after battling multiple injuries this season.
“We’re baseball players, but we’re humans as well, there’s a lot of time and emotion that goes into this game,” O’Day said. “My wife and family have really helped me cope with it and come to terms with it and get the right attitude back towards rehabbing it and seeing where that takes me over the next six months, if I want to come back and play.”
O'Day pitched two seasons with the Rangers and was a member of their bullpen during their 2010 postseason run.
O'Day became popular with the fans during his time with the club thanks to how easy it was to sing his name/chant his name each time he took the mound.
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1