Calf issue not expected to impact Severino’s next start


After getting roughed up by the Blue Jays on Friday night, Luis Severino walked around the clubhouse with his right calf wrapped, and seemed to indicate he hurt himself at home, away from the field. “There’s a little pain,” said Severino to Chad Jennings while adding the calf issue had no impact on his pitching.

It’s unclear how or what exactly happened — as Jennings noted, the “hurt at home” thing could have been the result of the language barrier — but it’s worth noting Severino caught a spike mid-delivery Friday night and slipped on the mound. Perhaps he poked himself in the calf with his cleat. Here’s the play:

“I’m still not sure what happened,” said Girardi to Jennings on Saturday. “He said he felt that it was bruised, it hurt to touch. It didn’t hurt to walk or anything. It might have been when he tripped. I’m going to have to watch the tape, that first inning when he tripped because it wasn’t a ground ball that hit him or anything so it’s gotta be in that first inning when he fell. Maybe he hit his spike on his leg and that’s what happened.”

Regardless of what happened, the injury is not expected to have any impact on Severino’s next start. The 21-year-old is lined up to start Wednesday night’s series finale against the Rays at the moment, though the Yankees might try to squeeze in a sixth starter at some point or something. Who knows. Severino has a 3.35 ERA (4.63 FIP) in 37.2 innings across seven starts for the Yankees this year even after getting smacked around by the Blue Jays last week.

The Yankees are already without Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) for the rest of the regular season, plus they want to give Masahiro Tanaka extra rest whenever possible, so losing Severino for even one start with a calf problem would be bad news. Heck, even pushing him back a few days would create a headache Wednesday night. Thankfully the calf issue is minor and won’t affect Severino’s pitching schedule.

Mark Teixeira done for 2015 with fracture in right leg

Mark Teixeira‘s season is over. Brian Cashman told reporters this afternoon that tests performed on Teixeira’s shin today found a previously undetected fracture. He is done for the year. The small fracture comes with a three-month recovery time, so Teixeira is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Teixeira, 35, suffered the injury when he fouled a pitch off his shin about four weeks ago. He’d been through all sorts of tests that originally diagnosed him with a bone bruise. Those tests failed to show the fracture for whatever reason. The injury hadn’t healed as hoped in recent weeks, so much so that Teixeira was still walking around the clubhouse on crutches yesterday.

In 111 games this season, Teixeira has hit .255/.357/.548 (144 wRC+) with 31 home runs. He was their best hitter and their team MVP prior the injury. Still is, really. Teixeira has played in only 372 of 624 possible games (59.6%) since the start of 2012 due to a variety of injuries, most notably wrist surgery that limited him to 15 games in 2013.

With Teixeira out, Greg Bird steps in as the full-time first base going forward. He has hit .241/.319/.458 (112 wRC+) with five home runs in his first 24 big league games, which is great on the “22-year-old rookie thrown into a postseason race” scale, but a big step down from Teixeira. So it goes.

Lack of progress means Yankees are more and more likely to be without Teixeira rest of 2015


It has now been almost four full weeks since Mark Teixeira was last an everyday player for the Yankees. He fouled that pitch off his shin on August 17th, and aside from a few innings at first base on August 25th and a pinch-hitting appearance on August 26th, Teixeira has not played since. In hindsight, playing on the 25th and 26th should not have happened. But it did and there’s nothing anyone can do about it now.

The injury, specially a bone bruise in Teixeira’s shin with some associated nerve inflammation, has not improved much if at all over these last three weeks and change. Teixeira is still on crutches — he was walking around the clubhouse with just one crutch yesterday, not two, so I guess that’s progress? — and unable to put weight on his injured right leg. Right now, he remains in wait and see mode.

“I can’t walk without pain yet so that’s kind of the first step. My leg just doesn’t really work right now,” said Teixeira to reporters yesterday afternoon. He has not yet put any weight on the leg and certainly hasn’t resumed any sort of baseball activities. Teixeira is due to have tests today just as a check-up, to make sure things are progressing as they should. So far they haven’t, and that a big problem for the Yankees.

Greg Bird has stepped in at first base and been very good at times and rough at others. He’s hitting .241/.319/.458 (112 wRC+) while striking out a ton (30.9%) in 94 plate appearances, which is fine. For a rookie thrust into an everyday job in the middle of a pennant race, that’s pretty awesome. Bird’s defense has not been good, which was expected, and it’s a huge step down from Teixeira. That was inevitable. Teixeira has few peers defensively.

All things considered, Bird has stepped into a difficult situation and done a fine job. Very commendable. But he’s not Teixeira. Not even close, and the Yankees are in a much worse position now than they were with Teixeira four weeks ago. And given the lack of progress, it looks as though they’ll continue to be without Teixeira for a while. Brian Cashman recently admitted he was worried his first baseman would miss the rest of the season and unless today’s tests show substantial progress, it’s looking more and more likely Bird will be the first baseman down the stretch.

“We tried to push it the first time and knew it wasn’t ready. So we have to figure out how much healing’s occurred and when I can push it again,” added Teixeira. “In my mind, I’m playing. I’m still 100 percent (certain). I’m coming back, in my mind. That’s the way I have to go about it.”

The season ends three weeks and two days from today, which means not getting Teixeira back is becoming more and more of a reality. It’s not just a matter of getting the okay from the doctors then jumping back into the lineup. He’ll first have to shake off the rust and get his timing back before helping the Yankees in a meaningful way. It sucks, Teixeira was the team’s MVP before getting hurt, and each day that passes without much progress means they may not get him back at all this year.

Injury News: Nathan Eovaldi, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira

And no one was ever healthy again. (Presswire)
And no one was ever healthy again. (Presswire)

Got a bunch of not particular good injury updates to pass along, which come from Brian Cashman via the plethora of beat reporters. Away we go:

  • It “sounds like” Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) will not be able to return during the regular season, said Cashman. That’s not good. Eovaldi could be in play for the postseason, however. He will be shut down two weeks, then begin a two-week throwing program. The regular season ends three weeks and five days from today.
  • As for replacing Eovaldi in the rotation, Cashman said Adam Warren will be stretched back and will soon make another start. Bryan Mitchell was mentioned as another option. A trade isn’t happening. “I think what you’re seeing is what we’ve got,” said the GM.
  • Brett Gardner has been trying to play through a jammed shoulder recently. He hurt himself crashing into a wall making a catch. Gardner, who is not in tonight’s lineup for the second straight day, received a platelet-rich plasma injection the Yankees hope will calm things down. He is available tonight if necessary.
  • Mark Teixeira (leg) received two injections to help relieve some nerve inflammation around the bone bruise in his shin. He’s still on crutches. Cashman admitted he “(does) wonder” whether Teixeira will be able to return this season. Well, at least the team has a viable fill-in at first base.

Eovaldi shut down two weeks with elbow inflammation

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Earlier this evening, the Yankees announced right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will be shut down two weeks with right elbow inflammation. He was examined today and underwent an MRI. I assume no structural damage was found. The timetable would be way longer than two weeks in that case.

Eovaldi, 25, had Tommy John surgery as a high school junior way back in 2007. His elbow has been healthy since. (He dealt with some shoulder inflammation in 2013.) There are still four weeks left in the regular season, so, with any luck, Eovaldi will be back in two weeks. Hopefully this is nothing serious.

In 27 starts and 154.1 innings this year, Eovaldi has a 4.20 ERA (3.43 FIP), though he’s been much better of late, with a 3.43 ERA (2.87 FIP) in 14 starts and 84 innings since the Miami disaster. Eovaldi did struggle with his location the last two times out and command problems are a classic symptom of elbow trouble.

The Yankees are getting CC Sabathia back from his knee injury Wednesday, so he’ll step right into Eovaldi’s rotation spot. Expanded rosters will still allow them to use a spot sixth starter whenever they want. Bryan Mitchell and Chris Capuano are candidates to make spot starts if necessary.

Eovaldi has been the team’s best pitcher the last few weeks, and the Yankees are already without their best hitter thanks to Mark Teixeira‘s bone bruise, so the roster has taken some big hits of late. And yet, they’re tied with the Blue Jays in the loss column. Fighting spirit.

Mark Teixeira’s injury will be a significant obstacle down the stretch

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Prior to last night’s win, the Yankees got some bad news about their 2015 MVP, or maybe I should say bad news that could have been a lot worse. Mark Teixeira, who left the team Monday and returned to New York to have tests on his shin, does not have any kind of fracture. His bone bruise, however, has not gotten better and he will be on crutches for at least a few days. Brian Cashman said it’ll be at least two weeks until Teixeira returns.

“It just hasn’t been healing in any way, shape or form, and they’ve ruled out any other complications. It’s a timing mechanism and it’s taking a hell of a lot longer than we would have expected,” said Cashman to Wally Matthews. “The biggest concern was a stress fracture, but that’s been ruled out. You would have expected to see some sort of improvement on the bone contusion healing process, and that has not happened. Now he’ll probably be two weeks [before] we’ll get him going.”

Teixeira suffered the injury on a fluke play. All he did was foul a pitch into his shin, which is the kind of thing that happens countless times each season. This one just happened to catch Teixeira in the right spot — or wrong spot, I guess — and he’s been out more than two weeks. The Yankees never did place him on the DL because they thought it would be a day-to-day issue. Obviously that has not been the case. (Rosters are expanded now, so there’s no sense in placing him on the DL at this point.)

If nothing else, at least Tuesday’s news gives us a bit of a reprieve from the daily updates and wondering whether today will be the day Teixeira returns to the lineup. He’s at least two weeks away now. There is never a good time for an injury like this, but right now is an especially bad time given the AL East and wildcard races, and the fact the season ends in the month. There’s a non-zero chance this bone bruise ends Teixeira’s season.

Teixeira is the Yankees’ most irreplaceable player because he’s elite on both sides of the ball. Even with his early-August slump, he is still hitting .255/.357/.548 (145 wRC+) with 31 home runs overall, including a 155 wRC+ against righties and a 118 wRC+ against lefties. Teixeira’s a switch-hitter who has an impact from both sides of the plate. He also plays a mean first base, and you never truly appreciate great first base defense until you don’t get it. The only thing Teixeira doesn’t do well is run. He’s been great at everything else this year.

The Yankees don’t have that guy anymore. Teixeira’s two-way impact is gone. Greg Bird has gotten a chance to sink or swim at first base since Teixeira went gone down, and while playing the kids is exciting, Bird has been a substantial downgrade. He hasn’t hit a whole lot (90 wRC+) and the drop off on defense is painfully obvious. I like Bird and have been especially impressed by his approach. He has a good chance to be the first baseman of the future. It’s also okay to acknowledge he has been a detriment since being pressed into everyday duty.

So now, with Teixeira out, it’s up the other veterans to pick up the slack. To me that means basically everyone in the lineup other than Bird and Didi Gregorius, though Didi has picked up the pace of late. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner need to be gangbusters atop the lineup. Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann need to continue to produce and Chase Headley has to sustain his second half surgery. Alex Rodriguez? The longer his slump goes on the less likely it is the Yankees win the division. Pretty simple.

No one player makes a team, not even someone as good as Mike Trout, but Teixeira’s injury is a significant blow to the Yankees. They rely on him heavily both defensively and offensively, in the middle of the lineup against both righties and lefties. Katie explained yesterday just how huge Teixeira has been in high-leverage spots this year. That clutch bat is gone now. Not having Teixeira is a major obstacle the Yankees will have to overcome these next few weeks to return to the postseason.

CC Sabathia doesn’t need knee surgery, open to pitching out of the bullpen in September


One day after being placed on the 15-day DL with right knee inflammation, CC Sabathia went for a second opinion today, which confirmed he has no new damage in the knee. It’s simply some arthritic stuff that requires rest. Sabathia does not need surgery, neither now nor in the offseason.

Sabathia told reporters he hopes to return to the team after his 15 days are up, and added he is willing to pitch out of the bullpen should the Yankees ask. “Helping the team any way I can,” he said. For what it’s worth, Joe Girardi said moving Sabathia to the bullpen is something they won’t discuss until CC is actually healthy enough to pitch again. Makes sense.

The overall numbers are ugly this year (5.27 ERA and 4.82 FIP in 138.1 innings) but there is reason to think the 35-year-old Sabathia could be effective in relief. For starters, he still destroys lefties, holding them to a .180/.209/.291 (.218 wOBA) batting line with a 30.4% strikeout rate this year. Secondly, Sabathia is at his best the first time through the lineup (via Baseball Reference):

1st PA in G, as SP 24 215 21 51 8 0 8 15 42 2.80 .258 .313 .419 .732 .291 108
2nd PA in G, as SP 24 209 30 60 5 2 7 11 44 4.00 .314 .351 .471 .822 .368 126
3rd PA in G, as SP 22 167 25 51 4 2 11 9 24 2.67 .331 .370 .597 .967 .333 150
4th+ PA in G, as SP 7 12 1 2 0 0 0 2 3 1.50 .222 .333 .222 .556 .286 53

Righties have crushed Sabathia this season (.388 wOBA!), but, if he’s limited to facing mostly lefties in one or two innings bursts, it’s possible he’ll be an effective reliever. Not just effective, maybe even really good. A late-inning weapon.

Sabathia has made just one career relief appearance and that was in Game Five of the 2011 ALDS, when Ivan Nova got hurt and had to leave after two innings. CC allowed a run in 1.1 innings. Moving to the bullpen — if it happens, of course — would take a bit of an adjustment on his part, though September is a good time to work through those issues thanks to expanded rosters.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Sabathia was just placed on the DL yesterday, so he’s at least two weeks away from being activated. That assumes his knee heels up quickly. We’re just going to have to wait and see. Hopefully Sabathia gets healthy soon and the team has to make a decision about his role because everyone else on the staff is healthy and pitching effectively.