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


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.

Update: Mark Teixeira heading for MRI on right knee

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

8:50pm: Teixeira left the game with right knee discomfort, the Yankees announced. He’s heading for an MRI.

7:47pm: Mark Teixeira left tonight’s game with what looked to be a right knee injury. Nothing obvious happened on the field, but YES showed Teixeira grabbing his knee and talking to the trainer in the dugout during the third inning. The Yankees haven’t announced any sort of update yet.

The Yankees are already without Dustin Ackley (shoulder) and Greg Bird (shoulder), so their first base depth chart is mighty thin. Austin Romine is the backup first baseman by default right now, but with Brian McCann banged up, the team needs him behind the plate. Rob Refsnyder has been working out at first and he replaced Teixeira in the game.

Teixeira has not hit this season at all — he came into this game hitting .181/.273/.265 (49 wRC+) overall, and it’s been nearly two months since his last homer — so the Yankees aren’t going to miss his bat. They will miss his defense though. Teixeira is still a high-end defender at first base. Among the best in baseball. We see it game after game.

The Yankees have Nick Swisher and Chris Parmelee at Triple-A, and while Parmelee is out-hitting Swisher by a decent margin, my guess is the team would go with Swisher should Teixeira miss an extended period of time. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. A healthy and productive Teixeira is the best thing for the Yankees.

Update: Gary Sanchez placed on Triple-A DL with fractured thumb


7:12pm: Sanchez has a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb, the Yankees announced. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Sucks.

1:53pm: Top catching prospect Gary Sanchez has a “crack in his thumb,” Brian Cashman confirmed to Shane Hennigan this afternoon. Sanchez is heading to New York for further evaluation. He took a foul tip to the hand during Triple-A Scranton’s game last night.

Sanchez, 23, is hitting .297/.340/.536 (155 wRC+) with six homers in 34 games with the RailRiders this year. He made a one-game cameo with the big league team earlier this month. It goes without saying a thumb injury is a pretty big deal. If you can’t hold the bat or grip the ball properly, you’re kinda useless on the field.

Austin Romine, who has played well in limited time as Brian McCann‘s backup, won’t have to look over his shoulder for a little while now. Sanchez has been waiting in Triple-A and is clearly part of the team’s long-term plans behind the plate. It’s only a matter of time until he begins an apprenticeship under McCann.

For now all we can do is hope the injury is not severe and will only sideline Sanchez for a few weeks or even a few days. He’s a young man who is still working on his defense, and he can’t do that if he’s injured.

Change of Plans: A-Rod to begin rehab assignment tonight, not rejoin Yankees

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Turns out Alex Rodriguez will not rejoin the Yankees tonight after all. Earlier this morning the team announced A-Rod will play in a minor league rehab game with Double-A Trenton tonight. The Yankees had originally planned to activate him from the DL with no minor league time.

“We are not going to waste his at-bats in Triple-A,” said Joe Girardi to George King over the weekend when asked about bringing Alex back without a rehab stint. Joe didn’t say anything about Double-A, but yeah, the team obviously feels the best thing to do is let A-Rod see some live pitching being returning to the lineup.

Rodriguez has been out nearly three weeks now with a hamstring problem. He’s been running the bases and taking batting practice the last few days, but taking batting practice and facing live pitching is not the same thing. Three weeks (or close to it) is a long time to go without facing real pitching.

The Yankees are scheduled to face R.A. Dickey tonight, and a knuckleballer is pretty much the last thing you want a player who hasn’t seen live pitching in nearly three weeks to face. The knuckler could screw up his timing even more. It’s unclear how many rehab games A-Rod will play, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was only one. We’ll see.