TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees minor league infielder Thairo Estrada was shot in the right hip in late January during a robbery attempt outside of a restaurant in Bejuma, Venezuela. He's in big league camp and doing well, although limited to upper-body work at the moment. Manager Aaron Boone said the Yankees expect no long-term ramifications from the shooting.
Estrada, Keith Law's No. 13 prospect in the Yankees' system after hitting .301 with six home runs at Double-A Trenton in 2017, said everything "happened quickly." He was with his wife when two teenagers asked for money or a phone and searched his pockets. When he said he had neither, they shot him in the hip. His wife was not hurt.
"That's the way it is down there," the 21-year-old said. "The situation there isn't good."
The country has been plagued by political and economic unrest, and a violent crime epidemic that the Los Angeles Times last year labeled as "escalating into a full-blown humanitarian crisis." A Gallup poll published this past August found that only 12 percent of Venezuelans felt safe walking after sundown, and 38 percent said they had been robbed in the past year.
Baseball players or their families are often targets for robberies or even kidnappings. Estrada said he didn't know whether that was the case with him. "I didn't know who they were, so I'm not sure if they knew I was a baseball player," he said through a translator.
Estrada said that even though he heard the gun go off, he didn't think he'd been shot until he later noticed a small hole in his upper thigh and hip area. He had surgery and spent three days in the hospital, although the bullet remains lodged in his hip.
Boone said there's no timetable on when Estrada will resume baseball activities. He will start riding an exercise bike next week and is expected to play the bulk of the season. Law wrote that Estrada "looks like a great utility player who can put the ball in play without any power, handle short or second without much trouble and can't just be overpowered with velocity."