Stephen Drew’s season likely over due to dizziness and concussion symptoms

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

Yesterday afternoon, both Stephen Drew and Joe Girardi acknowledged Drew’s season may be over due to his ongoing dizziness and concussion symptoms. He’s gone for tests which ruled out “serious stuff” but showed a problem with his vestibular system, the inner ear system that controls balance and eye movements.

“From the MRI, the good news is they were basically checking some serious stuff and that showed negative, but on the concussion side it’s kind of leaning toward that,” said Drew to Fred Kerber. “They’re going to do some more tests and try to figure it out and go from there because of the way I’m feeling … It’s more or less the vestibular. They’re trying to pinpoint it. There is no time frame. I could wake up tomorrow and feel really good.”

Drew, 32, has not played since last Tuesday and has only played nine innings in the field (three at-bats) in the last 15 days. Part of that is Dustin Ackley taking over as the starting second baseman, but Drew has been dealing with this dizziness for about ten days now. He said he believes it happened during the doubleheader with the Blue Jays, when a ground ball deflected off his glove and hit him in the face.

“You go back on the play when the ball deflected off the glove and hit me in the face. I don’t think much about it and keep playing. It just progressed, got worse. It’s that play. There was nothing else in the season,” said Drew. He missed time with a concussion with the Red Sox in 2013 and had vestibular problems as well. “That’s the symptoms I’ve been having. With the vestibular, when I had it in ’13 it was really severe.”

Girardi said the Yankees are “playing it like we’re not going to have him” the rest of the season, which makes sense. Drew said there hasn’t been much improvement in recent days and the season ends Sunday, so there’s not much time for things to improve. You don’t want a player to rush back from a possible concussion either. It’s a brain injury, remember. You don’t mess around with those.

Assuming Drew’s season is over, he finishes the year having hit .201/.271/.381 (76 wRC+) with 17 homers in 428 plate appearances, which is quite bad. His defense in his first year as a full-time second baseman was fine, more than fine really, but I’m not sure any level of defense makes up for making an out nearly 73% of the time. Drew was worth the $5M flier but it didn’t work out. So it goes. The Yankees have a good second base situation right now.

Masahiro Tanaka to miss Wednesday’s start with Grade I hamstring strain

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

Well this is bad news. Masahiro Tanaka will miss Wednesday’s start against the Blue Jays with a Grade I right hamstring strain, the Yankees announced this afternoon. Tanaka hurt himself running the bases Friday. Stupid NL rules. Ivan Nova will start in Tanaka’s place Wednesday.

Joe Girardi said the hope is Tanaka will miss just one start due to the hamstring issue. Of course, that one start might be the most important game of the season. Tanaka is pretty much the only Yankees starter who has been able to hold down the Blue Jays offense, and depending on how the next few days play out, first base could be on the line Wednesday.

Apparently the injury happened when Tanaka ran down to first base in the second inning Friday. He laid down a sacrifice bunt and the force out was made at second. Tanaka had to run from first to second on Brett Gardner‘s single later in the inning, then had to run to first on a ground out in his second at-bat. He threw five innings after the injury supposedly happened.

There was no indication Tanaka was hurt — he was lifted for a pinch-hitter despite throwing 82 pitches because the Yankees were down in the seventh and needed offense — so this injury really came out of nowhere. A Grade I strain is least severe by definition, which is the good news, I guess. Tanaka told reporters he wants to pitch Wednesday, but the Yankees are playing it safe.

Still, losing Tanaka is very bad news, even if it is only one start. Nova has not pitched well this season — the Blue Jays hammered him last time out, as I’m sure you remember — but the Yankees have no other alternatives. Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) is also hurt and Adam Warren‘s back in the rotation. It’s either Nova or Chris Capuano at this point. Sigh.

Calf issue not expected to impact Severino’s next start

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

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

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

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.