There were moments where Cleveland Guardians outfielder Josh Naylor thought he may never play the game of baseball again. But, just 10 months after one of the most gruesome injuries you'll ever see, Naylor is poised to return to the Guardians' lineup in the coming days, potentially as early as Friday.
Naylor spoke with Guardians insider Jason Lloyd of The Athletic ahead of this return, and shared some heart-wrenching details behind his long road back to recovery.
Josh Naylor Return
It's an injury that most Guardians fans, and fans around baseball, have seen. And, if not, there's good reason for not watching it.
Naylor actually never watched the replay himself. His father Chris saw it once, and that was plenty. “I watch it in my mind when I close my eyes every night. Those eyes see it every day," said [Chris] Naylor.
Josh discussed a lot of the mental hurdles that went down with his injury. From days thinking he would never play again to battling depression during the immediate aftermath, Naylor saw this rehab process as a test.
“You think you can’t play again, you think your career is over. But it’s just a test from God. How can you come back from this stronger? How can you use this as motivation? How can you use this to inspire other people?"- Josh Naylor
There's no doubt that the Guardians crowd will give Naylor a raucous welcome when he first hits the field. It's been a long road back, but one that gives the slugging outfielder motivation moving forward. Naylor has been surprisingly upbeat, even saying "I can’t describe much of the offseason because every day was different and unique in its own way. It was awesome.”
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