Archive for Injuries

Rehabbing right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will face hitters and throw live batting practice on Saturday, Joe Girardi announced. He threw his second bullpen session yesterday, including breaking balls and splitters, and everything went well enough for him to move forward in his rehab from a partially torn elbow ligament. This will be the first time Tanaka throws to hitters since getting hurt. It’s a pretty big step given the increase in intensity.

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10:52pm: Beltran is day-to-day after receiving a cortisone shot in his elbow, according to Joe Girardi. He won’t play tomorrow but could be in the lineup on Friday.

3:59pm: Carlos Beltran is heading to see the doctor after feeling pain in his right elbow following a swing last night. It’s the elbow with the bone spur he’s been playing through since May. Beltran felt it during last night’s game and it did not improve overnight. Joe Girardi said the team is hopeful he will miss a day or two, but who really knows. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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5:00pm: Tanaka threw 35 pitches in the bullpen this afternoon, including fastballs, curveballs, sliders, and even five splitters. Everything went well and he feels fine. Joe Girardi told reported the next step with either be another bullpen session or facing hitters in live batting practice, depending how Tanaka feels in the coming days.

12:30pm: Masahiro Tanaka will throw his second bullpen session today as he attempts to work his way back from a partially torn elbow ligament. He is expected to throw some breaking balls — but not splitters — this time, which is a pretty significant step. Tanaka has thrown breaking balls while playing catch on flat ground.

The Yankees have said the team’s position in the wildcard race will not change how they approach Tanaka’s rehab. They won’t rush him, but they also would like to get him back in games if possible just to see what they have. I guess there is also some feeling that if his elbow is going to blow out, it’s going to blow out, and it’s better to find that out now than early next year. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Hope today goes well.

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For the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation two weeks ago, David Phelps played catch today yesterday. He made 50 throws from 60 feet and told reporters he had an MRI yesterday. The results will be available at some point today. Joe Girardi told reporters that Phelps is likely three weeks away from returning to the team if the tests come back clean (as expected), though they might bring him back as a reliever just to speed things up.

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(Scott Iskowitz/Getty)

(Scott Iskowitz/Getty)

Got some injury updates to pass along on the off-day. Well, two injury updates and one suspension update, technically. They all come courtesy of Chad Jennings, George King, and Mark Feinsand.

  • Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) will throw some breaking balls (but not splitters) during his next bullpen session this week. He’s already thrown some curveballs and sliders on flat ground. “He played catch [Sunday] and he will be scheduled for another bullpen next week,” said Joe Girardi. “I am not sure what day it is. His next bullpen he will start to spin some stuff. He will throw some fastballs and some breaking balls … I am not sure he will throw a split. They talked about him spinning some curveballs. I am not sure he will throw a slider or what else he is going to throw.”
  • David Phelps (elbow) will be re-evaluated today. If all goes well, he could start throwing later this week. The original plan when he was placed on the disabled list called for Phelps to be shut down completely for at least two weeks, and today marks two weeks. Hopefully Phelps’ elbow checks out fine and he doesn’t need much more than a rehab game or two before rejoining the team.
  • This technically isn’t an injury update, but I guess it fits here. Alex Rodriguez has been working out in Miami and Los Angeles in preparation for a return next season. He’s hitting and performing fielding drills. You know, just in case you thought he was sitting on the couch these last few months.
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I had this post planned and ready to go for today’s off-day … then Chad Jennings posted something very similar over the weekend. Read his post, then come back to read my take.

Mitchell will be back next month. (Presswire)

Mitchell will be back next month. (Presswire)

Two weeks from today, teams will be able to call up extra players from the minors and expand their rosters to up to 40 players. The debate about September call-ups and whether it’s right to play the final month of the season with a different set of rules will fire back up, but I’m in favor of expanded rosters. The minor league season is over, give some guys a chance to come up and experience MLB life, and reward the teams with depth. That one team chooses to call up fewer players than another is their problem. The roster size limit is the same across the league.

At this moment right now, the Yankees only have seven players on the 40-man roster who are not in the big leagues and are actually healthy. The seven: LHP Manny Banuelos, RHP Matt Daley, RHP Bryan Mitchell, C Austin Romine, C Gary Sanchez, UTIL Zelous Wheeler, and OF Zoilo Almonte. Both OF Ramon Flores (ankle) and RHP Preston Claiborne (shoulder) are currently playing in rehab games in the rookie Gulf Coast League and could be healthy in time for the start of September.

RHP Jose Campos had Tommy John surgery and OF Slade Heathcott had knee surgery earlier this year, so they are definitely not call-up options. RHP Jose Ramirez went down with … something early last month. He has a long history of injury problems, though I’m not sure what’s wrong with him this time. Either way, he is out and has yet to resume pitching in rehab games. C John Ryan Murphy was placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL just last week after taking a foul tip to the face mask, which implies a concussion. No word on how long he will be out. Surely the Yankees will play it safe.

Daley, Mitchell, Romine, Wheeler, and Almonte all seem like locks to be called up in September, mostly because they were all up at different points earlier this summer. That gives the Yankees two extra arms, a third catcher, another utility guy, and a platoon outfielder. Claiborne will definitely come back up if he’s healthy in time. I don’t believe Sanchez or a healthy Flores will be called up but Banuelos is up for debate. Last month I would have said no way, but he’s pitched much better of late. Right now, at this moment in time, I think he would get called up even if it’s only to soak in the big league atmosphere, not pitch. The Yankees did that with Andrew Brackman back in the day.

Austin. (Presswire)

Austin. (Presswire)

It seems likely the Yankees will cut ties with Rich Hill and call up one of their younger lefty bullpen options like LHP Tyler Webb or LHP Jacob Lindgren come September, and I suppose Daley and/or Wheeler could be easily cut loose to clear more spots. Maybe they prefer Scott Sizemore to Wheeler or something. Calling up prospects who will be Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season is always a popular idea but it doesn’t happen all that often. The one times the Yankees have done it in recent years was with Romine and Murphy, and that was because they wanted to carry a third catcher in September. There is some risk to adding, say, Tyler Austin to the 40-man a few weeks before necessary, and teams are generally risk averse. The Yankees especially so.

Campos, Heathcott, and Ramirez are dead 40-man roster spots because of their injuries — Ramirez could return soon, obviously — limiting the team’s flexibility. They have the option of calling them up and transferring them to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man spot, but then you run the risk of having the player sit on the big league disabled list accruing service time next year if he has a setback over the winter or in Spring Training, or if his rehab just takes longer than expected. The only time I can remember the Yankees calling up an injured player for the sole purpose of putting him on the 60-day DL to clear 40-man spot was Justin Maxwell in 2011. He was not a prospect and no one cared about his service time. Calling up injured players and placing them on the 60-day DL is another one of those things we talk about that rarely happens.

So, unless the Yankees go against the grain to clear some 40-man spots, they only have five obvious September call-up candidates on the 40-man roster. Six if you count Banuelos, more if Claiborne and/or Ramirez and/or Murphy get healthy in time. Hill will probably turn into Lindgren or Webb as well. Only four of those extra players are position players and two of those four are catchers (assuming Murphy gets healthy), meaning if Joe Girardi wants to make wholesale changes in blowout games, he’ll still need to keep two or three regulars on the field. (Remember, they only have a three-man bench right now.) That’s not ideal, but that’s the way the roster works right now. Injuries have left the Yankees really short this year and that carries on down into the minors.

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Rehabbing right-hander Andrew Bailey will not pitch for the Yankees this season, Joe Girardi confirmed to Chad Jennings. Girardi said the two-time All-Star and 2009 AL Rookie of the Year has suffered a “few setbacks” this summer as he works his way back from a torn shoulder capsule. Bailey had been throwing bullpen sessions in Tampa, last we heard.

The Yankees signed Bailey to a minor league contract over the winter knowing he was unlikely to pitch before September, if at all. The contract includes a club option and was always geared towards 2015. Bailey, 30, has thrown only 44 innings from 2012-14 (4.91 ERA and 4.68 FIP) due to a series of injuries, including the torn capsule and a torn thumb ligament. Torn capsules are very serious. No pitcher has ever returned from one and pitched like they did before getting hurt. The Yankees took a low-risk flier on Bailey and, given the nature of the injury, it’s no surprise he won’t be able to pitch this year.

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As expected, Masahiro Tanaka threw 25 fastballs in the bullpen this afternoon, his first time throwing off a mound since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament in early-July. “Today I was able to throw the way I wanted to,” he said to Marly Rivera. “I felt very good and all is headed in the right direction.”

According to Rivera, pitching coach Larry Rothschild cautioned they have to “see how he feels in a few days” before deciding on the next step. Tanaka indicated he would like to throw breaking balls next time out. Rothschild also said the “way the team plays has no impact on his rehab, cause it’s not worth it,” and he’s right. The Yankees have to do what’s best for Tanaka long-term and not grasp at the last straws of contention by rushing him back.

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4:01pm: Tanaka played catch again today and he will throw a 25-pitch side session in the bullpen tomorrow, according to Meredith Marakovits. It will be the first time he throws off a mound since getting hurt.

12:30pm: Via George King: Masahiro Tanaka could get back up on a mound and throw in the bullpen as soon as tomorrow. “It will be in the next few days if he continues to progress,’’ said pitching coach Larry Rothschild. That fits into the six-week timetable that was initially reported when he got hurt.

Tanaka, who has been out since early-July with a partially torn elbow ligament, threw ten fastballs off flat ground during Wednesday’s throwing session and everything went fine. He’s continuing to progress well with no pain and that is the most important thing. If Tanaka comes back in September, great. But at this point the focus should be on 2015.

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5:15pm: Tanaka threw ten pitches during today’s throwing session — all fastballs — he told reporters. It was his first time throwing actual pitches and not just lobbing the ball while playing catch. He said everything went well, though it’s unclear what the next step will be.

12:30pm: Masahiro Tanaka continues to make progress with his throwing program as he tries to rehab from a partially torn elbow ligament. George King says the right-hander is now making 90 throws from 120 feet — he started his throwing program with 25 throws from 60 feet last week — though yesterday’s rain in Baltimore forced him to play catch in the Camden Yards lobby instead of on the field.

The Yankees are getting Michael Pineda back tonight and if all goes well, Tanaka will return next month. He still has yet to throw off a mound and progress to game situations and all that, so he’s still a few weeks away. The important thing is that he’s making progress. The Yankees need all the help they can get at this point, and squeezing another two or three starts out of Tanaka in September might be the difference in the postseason race.

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