“My cleat got caught in the hole. I tried to push off of it and I guess it didn’t release, if that makes sense,” Almonte explained. “I guess I just hyperextended my knee.”
On a 1-0 pitch that Nate Jones fouled off, Almonte felt something in his knee, and immediately dropped his glove to the mound in pain. Almonte was visited on the mound by athletic trainer Nate Lucero and manager Dave Roberts, and after throwing one warmup pitch, convinced them to stay in the game.
“I thought I could get through it, but obviously I couldn’t,” Almonte said. “I knew in that situation, there’s already two outs in the top of the ninth, where I don’t want to have somebody else get up. I’d rather just fight through it and get out of the inning. But obviously, that didn’t happen.”
Almonte was pitching in his second inning, having already struck out three batters, in a 6-1 game with a runner on second. He remained in the game for two more pitches, both balls, before Roberts removed him from the game, with a 3-1 count, in favor of Ryan Brasier, who got the final out one batter later.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s an IL,” Roberts said. “Hopefully we got it early.”
“We’re going to see what the issue is tomorrow, if there is one. I don’t really think there is one,” Almonte said. “Maybe it’s just a sprain. Hopefully that’s all it is.”
It’s been an up-and-down year for Almonte, who has a 5.06 ERA. He had a pair of three-run outings in the last two weeks, including suffering the loss last Saturday in San Diego, after which Roberts told reporters at Petco Park when asked about the bullpen hierarchy, “You give guys opportunities, and they play themselves into their own roles. I’ll leave it at that.”
Almonte has pitched in a pair of lower-leverage situations in his two games since Saturday, entering with leads of six and five runs. He was encouraged by his three strikeouts on Friday.
“I finally threw some sliders that I felt like I threw last year. I was confident in it, attacking the hitters and going in the right direction, until my knee,” Almonte said. “I’ll take my positives.”