We love features around here, but these early morning injury updates are not exactly the best “wake up” news for Yankee fans. Today, the update stars the back-up catcher thrust into the starting role and the team’s Hall of Fame closer. Hooray!
Last night, for the first time since July 18, 1998, Mariano Rivera gave up two home runs in one appearance. For the first time in his career, he gave up back-to-back jacks. Age, it seems, catches up with everyone. As Joe detailed, Rivera has put up some ugly numbers and some good numbers recently. He has nine strike outs and no walks over his last 4.1 innings but has allowed nine hits — four homers — and five earned runs over that stretch.
After the game, Joe Girardi said that Rivera had been battling “arm strength” problems. The velocity graphs show a slight dip this year. With the command still there, Mike thinks this is a dead arm period, and I’m inclined to agree. Rivera is 39 and had shoulder surgery last year. He ain’t the spring chicken he once was, and he may lose a tick or two. But unless the Yanks see something physically wrong with him, he’ll just work through it as he always does.
Jose Molina, on the other hand, seems headed for the DL. Molina strained his quad while scoring last night, and the Yankees are now down to their third- and fourth-string catchers. Who starts behind the plate on Friday night is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Joe Girardi will a sign a player/coach contract and slip on the gear. Even at 44 and five season removed from his last game, he’s probably a better choice than anyone the Yanks have in their system.