Injury Updates: Beltran, Teixeira, Mitchell

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Today is the final day off the All-Star break. The Yankees open the second half with the first of three against the Red Sox tomorrow night. Their next 13 games are against contending teams (Red Sox, Orioles, Giants, Astros), so that’s going to be pretty fun. Here are some miscellaneous injury updates.

Beltran’s hamstring is 100%

Two nights ago, when Carlos Beltran played two innings in right field during the All-Star Game, it was his first appearance in the outfield in exactly a week. He served as the DH in the final five games of the first half because of a balky hamstring. After the game, Beltran told Joel Sherman he is 100%. “I want to give (Joe Girardi) the ability to be flexible with the DH role,” he said.

Beltran, 39, has had minor knee and hamstring problems this year. He did not have to be placed on the DL either time, but the knee had to be drained and the hamstring meant no outfield for a week. Beltran’s importance to the Yankees in the second half can’t be overstated. If they’re going to contend, they need him in the lineup because he’s their best hitter. If they’re going to sell, they want him healthy to get the maximum return.

Teixeira receives another knee injection

Following Sunday’s first half finale, Mark Teixeira received another lubrication in his right knee, reports Mark Feinsand. It was a scheduled injection and he’ll get a few more in the second half. “It’s important that we have him,” said Girardi. “If it’s four out of five days, five out of six, that’s pretty good. I have to check with him all the time.”

The 36-year-old Teixeira sat out Saturday’s game as the Yankees work to keep the knee in check and keep Teixeira on the field. He’s yet to play more than four games in a row since coming off the DL, and I don’t think Girardi will push him much more than that. Teixeira will need surgery at some point. He’s hoping the regular lubrication injections will allow him to push the surgery back until the offseason.

Mitchell resumes running and throwing

Bryan Mitchell, who managed to break his toe covering first base in Spring Training, has starting running and throwing, Girardi told George King. “He has been throwing and he has started to run a little bit so I think it’s possible we get him back, but (I’m) not necessarily counting on it,” said Girardi. “His rehab has gone really well.”

Mitchell, 25, had surgery on the toe in early-April, and the original timetable put his return at four months. That would put him on target to be back sometime in August. The Yankees are not going to push Mitchell hard. I know a toe injury sounds silly, but the last thing they want him to do is change his mechanics to compensate for the toe — that could happen subconsciously — and hurt his arm.

Update: Aaron Judge expected to miss 3-4 weeks with knee injury

(Times Leader)
(Times Leader)

Sunday: Judge is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, Joe Girardi told reporters this afternoon. You know the Yankees are going to play it safe though. If it takes a little longer, it takes a little longer.

Saturday: Earlier today the Yankees placed top outfield prospect Aaron Judge on the Triple-A disabled list with a “mild PCL sprain and a bone bruise of the left knee,” the team announced. They say he will be out an “undetermined” length of time. Sigh.

Judge left Friday’s game after running out a ground ball, though the Yankees say he initially hurt himself diving for a ball in right field earlier in the game. Shane Hennigan has photos of the play. The combination of the dive and running out the grounder led to the injury.

I’m no doctor, but a sprained knee ligament — even a mild sprain — leads me to believe Judge will return in weeks, not days. I hope I’m wrong. Bone bruises, as we’ve learned over the years, are pretty tricky and can take a while to heal. Point is, it sounds like Judge will be out a while.

Judge, 24, is hitting .261/.357/.469 (139 wRC+) with 16 homers, a 23.2% strikeout rate, and an 11.4% walk rate in 83 Triple-A games this year. That’s his lowest strikeout since he was in Low-A two years ago. Judge is clearly the right fielder of the future. Hopefully this injury doesn’t derail that plan much.

Update: Carlos Beltran day-to-day after hamstring MRI comes back clean

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

9:55pm: The MRI came back clean, Joe Girardi told reporters following tonight’s game. Beltran had a cramp and is day-to-day. Exhale.

8:18pm: Beltran left the team with a tight right hamstring, the Yankees announced. He’s heading for an MRI tonight. Here’s video of the play:

7:32pm: Carlos Beltran left tonight’s game in the first inning after running out a would-be double into the left field corner. He busted it out of the box then slowed down near first base. Carlos never attempted to run to second. Rob Refsnyder replaced him on the bases and then in right field.

Trainer Steve Donohue came out to check on Beltran, who grabbed at his hamstring — I think it was his right hamstring, but I could be wrong — before leaving the game. I guess the good news is he walked off under his own power and didn’t seem to be in any real pain. So maybe just a cramp? We’ll see.

It goes without saying that losing Beltran for any length of time would be devastating. Not only has he been the team’s best hitter this season (by a mile), he’s also a pretty darn good trade chip should the Yankees decide to sell at the deadline. Either way, contend or sell, losing Beltran ain’t good.

James Kaprielian diagnosed with flexor tendon strain

(Staten Island Advance)
(Staten Island Advance)

Top pitching prospect James Kaprielian has been diagnosed with a right flexor tendon strain, the Yankees announced. He went for an MRI today because his elbow is still not feeling better. Kaprielian will see Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles to get a second opinion in the coming days.

A flexor tendon strain is not the worst case scenario but it is pretty bad. It’s not uncommon for flexor strains to turn into Tommy John surgery and other nasty things. Hopefully Kaprielian can avoid anything more serious, though either way, his season is probably over. This usually isn’t a quick rehab process.

Kaprielian, 22, has not pitched since April due to what the Yankees have been calling elbow inflammation. He was supposed to begin a throwing program at some point this month, and I guess that’s when the elbow started giving him more problems. Hopefully ElAttrache brings good news. Fingers crossed.

Mark Teixeira resumes hitting and running, could return next week

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Sounds as though Mark Teixeira may be closer to a return than initially expected. Teixeira, who is currently out with cartilage damage in his right knee, has already resumed hitting and running. “I feel so much better,” he said to reporters this afternoon.

Teixeira hopes to take batting practice later this week when the Yankees are in Minnesota. If that goes well, he could play in his first minor league rehab game as soon as next Tuesday, then rejoin the big league lineup as soon as late next week. Optimistic? Sure, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

The 36-year-old Teixeira has received a lubrication injection to deal with the pain and he’ll have to continue receiving them throughout the season. The hope is he can return next week and finish the season before having surgery over the winter. The surgery would be season-ending if he had it now.

Teixeira was hitting .180/.271/.263 (48 wRC+) with three homers at the time of his injury, so he wasn’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball. Still, when the Yankees run out a lineup with Chase Headley batting lineup and Didi Gregorius batting fifth like they did today, I’ll happily welcome Teixeira back with open arms.

Chris Parmelee heading for MRI on hamstring injury

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

New first baseman Chris Parmelee is heading for an MRI on his injured hamstring, Joe Girardi told reporters following Thursday game. Girardi expects Parmelee to land on the DL. He hurt himself making a stretch at first base. Here’s video of the play:

Parmelee has been with the Yankees since Mark Teixeira hurt his knee last week. He got his first start last night and hit two home runs, then he drove in the game-tying run tonight. It’s not much, but Parmelee made a very nice first impression with his play these last two nights.

The Yankees are running out of first baseman, folks. Teixeira (knee), Greg Bird (shoulder), and Dustin Ackley (shoulder) are all out. Bird and Ackley are done for the season and Teixeira very well might be as well depending on his rehab. Rob Refsnyder has been getting reps at first base, and if Parmelee is out for an extended period of time, the Yankees might have no choice but to call up Nick Swisher.

Yankees place Mark Teixeira on 15-day DL with possible season-ending knee injury

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Earlier today the Yankees placed Mark Teixeira on the 15-day DL with a “right knee articular cartilage tear,” the team announced. He left last night’s game with discomfort in the knee and went for an MRI. Brian Cashman told Chad Jennings that Teixeira may need season-ending surgery. From Jennings:

“The initial effort is going to try to be to treat it conservatively with rest, probably involving injections, and then see how he responds to that,” general manager Brian Cashman said in a phone call this morning. “… If that doesn’t work, then you’re looking at a surgical procedure. If that’s the case, then his season is probably done.”

Surgery could end not only Teixeira’s season, but also his Yankees career. His eight-year contract is up after the season, and while the team will need a backup plan for Greg Bird at first base next year, they could very well go in another direction. For now it seems the Yankees will be without Teixeira for an extended period of time. This doesn’t figure to be a 15-day stint on the DL.

To replace Teixeira on the roster, the Yankees have called up Chris Parmelee — not Nick Swisher — from Triple-A Scranton. Simply put, the team believes Parmelee is better able to help them than Swisher right now. Parmelee has been the more productive hitter with the RailRiders (131 wRC+ vs. 72 wRC+), he’s seven years younger, he’s healthier, and better able to play the outfield if necessary.

Cashman told Jennings the plan is to mix-and-match at first base for the time being. It makes sense to start Parmelee, a left-handed hitter, against righties. Rob Refsnyder or Austin Romine could get the call against lefties. Refsnyder replaced Teixeira at first last night — it was his first game action at the position at any level — and was fine, though he wasn’t tested with many plays.

Teixeira has not hit at all this season. He owns a .180/.271/.263 (48 wRC+) batting line and hasn’t looked anywhere close to snapping out of his slump. It’s been nearly two full months since he last hit a home run. It’s very possible Parmelee and whoever else will give the team more production at first base than Teixeira has this season. They won’t replace his defense though. Teixeira is still all-world with the glove.

Dustin Ackley, who had season-ending shoulder surgery yesterday, was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Parmelee. He’ll be with the Yankees tonight.