After a relatively injury-free April, two of the most important Yankees were delivered blows over the weekend. Curtis Granderson suffered a Grade II groin strain rounding second on Saturday, leaving the team without their everyday centerfielder for the foreseeable future. Later in that game, Alex Rodriguez was pinch-run for as part of what looked like a questionable move, but it turns out he was dealing with some knee pain that kept him out of the lineup on Sunday.
Losing your centerfielder and cleanup hitter in the span of a few innings is scary stuff, but thankfully only one of the two injuries looks serious at the moment. As expected, Will Carroll touched on the Yanks’ walking wounded in today’s Under The Knife column at Baseball Prospectus (subs. req’d). Let’s start with Granderson, the bigger concern at this point…
The Yankees will be without Granderson for about a month with a Grade II groin strain. That’s a reasonable time frame no matter which way you go with the estimate. On one side, you could be optimistic and say that Granderson’s conditioning and strength will help him get back in two to four weeks. On the other hand, caution and some normal setbacks could push it to four to six weeks. There’s not really much more here to clarify; Granderson has a simple groin strain. Until he begins to jog or run, probably mid-month, we won’t know anything new.
It’s been two whole days since Granderson got hurt, and the only thing we know about the extent of the injury is what’s summarized above. His strength and conditioning could be reasons for optimism, but when recognizing that his game is built around speed and fast-twitch athleticism, a groin strain can be very problematic if not dealt with properly. There should be zero rushing back, because a setback could be even more harmful to the team.
At some point soon (likely today), the Yanks will call up Greg Golson to fill the roster spot, but Marcus Thames is essentially going to be pressed into everyday duty. The more Thames plays, the more his true talent level comes out, and the sooner he turns back into the .244-.298-.491 hitter he’s been over the last three years. The impact of Granderson’s injury goes beyond just losing one player.
Now for the third baseman…
The Yankees are also watching A-Rod. He was given Sunday off after having some soreness behind his knee. It’s minor, but the Yankees will be careful with Rodriguez for the next couple days while they monitor the situation and make sure that the symptoms aren’t overlying something that could be significant.
Yesterday’s report indicated that A-Rod will be in the lineup tonight, though we don’t know if he’ll be at the hot corner or at DH. Considering who they’re facing (Jeremy Guthrie and the O’s), I wouldn’t opposed to giving him another day of rest. As yesterday showed, the team has more than enough offense to survive with the noodle-bat of Ramiro Pena at third.
I’m always skeptical of reports indicating that an injury is minor, perhaps it’s just the pessimist in me preparing for the worst, especially with a player as important as A-Rod. Of course, I don’t believe the team would run him out there if there was any concern about this developing into a long-term issue. If the Yankees are going to make any noise this year, A-Rod’s going to have to be one of the guys to carry them there, just like last season. And besides, it’s not like they’re in a desperate situation right now. There’s no reason to rush anything, with Grandy or Alex.
Update (3:37pm): A-Rod’s in the lineup tonight, playing third.