Archive for Injuries
Jacoby Ellsbury injured his left ankle sliding into home plate in the ninth inning of last night’s game. A fluoroscope exam — whatever that is — came back negative, but he was walking with a limp in the clubhouse after the game and received treatment. “I’m going to call them first thing in the morning when I wake up and let them know how it feels,” said Ellsbury to Brendan Kuty. “It’s not going to feel great, but hopefully it’s good enough for me to play tomorrow.”
Replacing Ellsbury in the outfield won’t be much of a problem for the Yankees — they could play Brett Gardner in center field and Martin Prado in left or right — but losing his bat this point of the season would be a big blow. He’s been the best hitter on the team over the last week or two, igniting the offense once he moved back into the leadoff spot. Hopefully the ankle is just a little sore and it’s not anything more serious. Ellsbury is one of the most indispensable players on the roster.
4:28pm: Tanaka told reporters the soreness is “throughout the arm” and he does not feel any pain in his elbow. He attributed it to the layoff and said he isn’t worried. He just needs to build arm strength.
4:23pm: Masahiro Tanaka has been sent back to New York with “general soreness” in his right arm, the Yankees announced. It is not specifically his elbow. He will perform some strengthening exercises and is not scheduled to see a doctor. Hopefully this is nothing more than a dead arm phase after the long layoff. Either way, it now seems unlikely Tanaka will return to the team at some point next month.
As expected, Masahiro Tanaka threw his second simulated game this morning. He threw 49 pitches across three innings while facing Brendan Ryan, who batted both right- and left-handed. Tanaka threw all of his pitches and said he feels nothing more than normal soreness, though he is rusty. Joe Girardi called it a “good step in the right direction.”
The Yankees will wait to see how Tanaka and his partially torn elbow ligament feel in the coming days before setting the next step in stone. Girardi indicated his ace will throw at least two and likely three more simulated games before returning to the team. The minor league season ends Monday, so Tanaka will have to do all of his rehab and prep work in simulated games. That’s not ideal but there’s really nothing they can do.
As expected, Masahiro Tanaka faced hitters today for the first time since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament right before the All-Star break. He threw 35 pitches — including breaking balls and splitters — across two simulated innings against Brendan Ryan and Zelous Wheeler. Tanaka said he felt good but rusty, which isn’t surprising. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild called the throwing session encouraging.
It’s unclear what the next step will be — I’m guessing they’ll wait to see how Tanaka feels in the coming days before setting anything in stone — but the minor league season ends in about ten days, so there might not be enough time to get him in minor league rehab games. All of his preparation may have to be done in simulated games. The most important thing is that Tanaka is healthy and making real progress as he attempts to rehab his injury.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.