Archive for Injuries
The Yankees are on their way to Colorado and will start a three-game series against the Rockies tomorrow night. The guys on the DL — you know, basically half the team — made their way to Tampa to continue rehabbing instead. Here are some updates, courtesy of the AP and Anthony McCarron.
- Alex Rodriguez (hip) played catch and hit off a tee. It’s his first baseball activity since having surgery in January. “(It felt) like being eight years old again when I first grabbed a bat,” he said. “Pretty exciting … really looking forward to getting back.”
- Mark Teixeira (wrist) hit in the batting cage and took some ground balls at first base. He’s expected to start taking batting practice in the field in a few days.
- Curtis Granderson (forearm) played in another Extended Spring Training game today. He’s been doing that since last Wednesday, so almost a full week now. I can’t imagine an official minor league rehab assignment is too far away.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder), Frankie Cervelli (hand), Kevin Youkilis (back), and Ivan Nova (triceps) were all at the complex as well. Derek Jeter (ankle) was not there for whatever reason. He’s still in a walking boot and can’t do much anyway.
4:34pm: The MRI came back negative and Nunez is day-to-day with what they’re calling “irritation.” Joe Girardi said he might not be ready in time to play on Tuesday, which is a problem because that means they’ll be short a position player in an NL park.
3:16pm: Nunez left the game with tightness in his left ribcage, the team announced. He will have an MRI.
2:41pm: Eduardo Nunez was removed from today’s game for an unknown reason in the fifth inning. He was on deck when the bottom of the fourth inning ended, and the cameras showed him standing in the on-deck circle and chatting with Joe Girardi. Chris Nelson took over at third and Jayson Nix shifted over to short. Stay tuned for updates.
Via Mike Fitzpatrick: Curtis Granderson is fine after being hit by a pitch in the right arm during an Extended Spring Training game yesterday. It’s the same arm he had broken by an errant J.A. Happ pitch during Spring Training. “It was going to happen one of these days,” he said afterwards.
Granderson, 32, has been playing in ExST games since Wednesday, and Fitzpatrick says he has spent time in all three outfield positions. The Yankees insist he will return as the center fielder, so it will be interesting to see how the outfield shakes out once he returns. I don’t think anyone expected Vernon Wells to hit as well as he has, which has complicated things for the time being. We can worry about the outfield alignment when Curtis is actually ready to rejoin the team, I guess.
Right-hander Ivan Nova played catch today for what I believe is the first time since being placed on the DL with triceps inflammation last week. He said he still feels some tightness in triceps, but no pain. Like every other injured Yankee, he will head to Tampa next week while the team leaves for their road trip.
Nova, 26, has been awful in four starts this year, posting a 6.48 ERA and 3.60 FIP in 16.2 innings. There’s certainly a chance the struggles may be related to the injury, ditto his second half trouble last year (7.05 ERA and 5.06 FIP). Remember he missed about three weeks with shoulder inflammation. The bottom line is the Yankees need Nova healthy because he can’t work on things and improve if he can’t get on a mound.
Alex Rodriguez and his surgically repaired left hip have been cleared to begin baseball activities, Brian Cashman confirmed. He has been able to run at full speed and will head to Tampa to continue rehabbing on Monday.
A-Rod, 37, has surgery in early-January and started light running last month. Cashman stuck to the original timetable when asked about a return date, meaning they’re still not expecting him back until after the All-Star break. I’m of the “whatever they get out of him this year is gravy” mindset, they can’t count on him for anything in 2013, but it is good to hear he’s progressing.
During a conference call this afternoon, Brian Cashman confirmed rehabbing right-hander Michael Pineda showed mid-90s velocity during an Extended Spring Training game today. “He pitched at 93 and was up to 95,” said the GM. “A good physical day.”
Two important pieces of news here: One, Pineda is pitching in actual games. ExST doesn’t start his official 30-day rehab window, but it shows he’s graduated from live batting practice and simulated games to real live games. Two, holy crap velocity. Pineda is one year and one day out from shoulder surgery, and he’s showing similar heat to the 94.2 mph he averaged with the Mariners in 2011. Overwhelmingly good news even if his return is nowhere close to imminent.
Robertson, 28, limped off the field last night after apparently catching a spike during the follow through of his final pitch. He said afterwards he was fine, but the team send him for tests anyway. Robertson has pitched well this year (3.86 ERA, 3.54 FIP), and with Joba Chamberlain hitting the DL, the Yankees really can’t afford to lose their primary setup man.
3:38pm: Brian Cashman confirmed Joba suffered the injury warming up on Tuesday. He called it a “mild” strain, for what it’s worth. A decision has not been made about who will be called up, but it definitely will not be Clay Rapada or Chien-Ming Wang according to the GM. Rapada can be called back up to the big leagues starting tomorrow.
2:44pm: The Yankees have placed right-hander Joba Chamberlain on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain, the team announced. The DL stint is retroactive to April 28th, so he is eligible to return in a week and four days. Obliques are tricky though, he could easily be out longer. David Robertson missed a month with an oblique issue last year, for example.
Joba, 27, warmed up on Tuesday but did not appear in the game, as our Bullpen Workload page shows. I guess that’s when it happened. He pitched in three straight games last weekend and there was no indication he was hurt. No word on who will take his place on the roster just yet, but Cody Eppley seems like a safe bet. Joba has pitched pretty well this year (3.86 ERA and 3.45 FIP), especially of late. Shawn Kelley seems likely to assume seventh inning duties along with Boone Logan.
Via Josh Norris: Right-hander Jose Campos confirmed he missed most of last season with a small fracture in his elbow. The injury was originally described as some kind of sprain or bone bruise. Obviously it was more serious than that. Despite the injury, I ranked him as the team’s seventh best prospect before the season.
Campos, 20, told Norris he feels he’s 90% of the way back to being where he was before the injury, when he was arguably the most electric pitching prospect in the system. That remaining 10% is mechanical refinements, he said. Campos made just five starts (4.01 ERA, 3.24 FIP in 24.2 innings) before getting hurt last year. He’s been limited to three-inning outings early in 2013, pitching to a 6.00 ERA (5.37 FIP) in 12 innings for Low-A Charleston.
No team has been more beset by injuries this year than the Yankees. They’ve used the DL ten times already, the most in the big leagues. Some injuries are more serious than others, and some absences are more noticeable than others. Still, ten players on the DL one month into the season is a little extreme.
With a lineup that is averaging just four runs per game since the blowout Indians series (team 106 wRC+ overall), it’s clear the offense doesn’t pack as much punch as it once did. The Yankees can’t hit lefties at all — .225/.300/.365 (78 wRC+) as a team — and the injuries are a major reason why. The pitching staff has been pretty awesome (4.22 runs per game, 3.64 FIP), and that’s why the club owns the second best record in baseball at 17-10.
Some of those injured players are getting closer to a return, and a month gives us a good enough to look to determine which guy the Yankees have missed the most. With all due to respect to Kevin Youkilis, Ivan Nova, and Frankie Cervelli, this is limited to players who started the season on the DL and would have unquestionably made the 25-man roster if healthy. That means no Michael Pineda and Cesar Cabral, basically, and it leaves us with four prominent position players.
The Yankees lost their top power hitter five pitches into his Grapefruit League season, when an errant J.A. Happ pitch broke Granderson’s forearm and put him on the DL for more than two months. Curtis played in his first Extended Spring Training game just yesterday, getting two at-bats before it started raining. The Yankees have hit an MLB-best 38 homers this season, so they haven’t been the powerless punch and judy offense so many (including me) expected. Still, losing a legitimate 40-homer hitter is a blow to any team.
October ankle surgery turned into an April setback, which will force the Cap’n to the sidelines until the All-Star break. Jeter hit .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) last season and that’s close to impossible to replace at the shortstop position – the team’s shortstops are currently hitting .214/.289/.264 (52 wRC+) – but the Yankees especially miss his right-handed bat against lefty pitchers. He hit .364/.399/.542 (157 wRC+) against southpaws in 2012, and boy would that fit nicely atop the lineup these days.
The Bombers knew about A-Rod‘s hip injury in December, so they were able to secure a more than capable replacement in Youkilis. That said, the old and broken down version of A-Rod produced more in 2012 (.272/.353/.430, 114 wRC+) than the totally awesome and rejuvenated version of Youkilis in 2013 (.266/.347/.422, 108 wRC+). The difference is especially noticeable against lefties, where A-Rod massively outproduced his third base replacement (152 vs. -40 wRC+). Rodriguez’s right-handed bat would fit perfectly into the middle of the lineup, especially against southpaws.
Teixeira hurt his wrist in mid-May while with preparing for the World Baseball Classic with Team USA, so the Yankees didn’t have much time to find a replacement. Lyle Overbay has been decent overall (98 wRC+) and much more than that against righties (.322/.375/.610, 163 wRC+), but he’s also been useless against lefties (-63 wRC+). Despite his decline, Teixeira was very productive last year (.251/.332/.475, 116 wRC+), especially against lefties (.269/.333/.531, 129 wRC+). Once again, that ability to mash southpaws is something the Yankees miss in a big way right now.
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Four players who, in recent years, occupied the top four spots in the lineup. All are missed in their own way, but some are definitely missed more than others.