Phillies SS Didi Gregorius blames vaccine on extended slump

Field Level Media

September 17, 2021 at 5:13 pm.

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius said the COVID-19 vaccine is to blame for his career worst 2021 season.

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gregorius said that after he was vaccinated, he was diagnosed with pseudogout in his right elbow, a form of arthritis that leads to painful swelling.

“Some people say it’s from the vaccine. I will say it’s likely from that, too,” Gregorius said. “But when you say that, everyone looks at you like you’re stupid because the vaccine is not supposed to be like that or give you that reaction.”

Experts cast doubt in their own comments to The Inquirer.

“It has nothing to do with the vaccine,” said Paul Offit, a vaccine specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He said the vaccine could cause a short-term flare of pseudogout but not the condition itself.

So agreed Ravina Kullar, a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She told the newspaper she had heard of two brief flareups of rheumatoid arthritis after the vaccine only.

Gregorius was vaccinated in April and soon after began experiencing elbow discomfort. It is the same elbow that required Tommy John surgery following the 2018 season, and the 31-year-old said his doctor suggested the vaccine as a potential cause.

“He didn’t give me like 100 percent,” Gregorius said. “Of course, this is the joint that I use the most and I get it on my elbow.”

Gregorius said he got vaccinated at the recommendation of his doctor, who Gregorius told him that he should have it because of a preexisting kidney condition. Now, he said, he “kind of” regrets it.

A career .261 hitter, Gregorius is batting .217 with 11 homers and 47 RBIs in 89 games this season. Last year, in the shortened 60-game season, he hit .284 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs.

Before joining the Phillies prior to the 2020 season, Gregorius spent the previous five seasons with the New York Yankees. In that stretch, he was a key contributor, hitting .267 with 120 doubles, 97 homes and 360 RBIs.