It’s hard to believe that the Yanks start June 3 with the best record in the American League. They’ve seen a few key contributors miss significant playing time and were without A-Rod until the middle of May. It makes me wonder how quick a start the Yankees could have had if the entire team were healthy.
Anyway, as the Yanks sit at ten games over .500, they’re still missing five key players with a sixth in a sort of pitching limbo. The team’s Opening Day right fielder is out along with the lefty and right set up men, the back-up infielder and the back-up catcher. We have updates for all of these guys this morning so let’s just jump in.
Xavier Nady: When we last heard from Nady on Monday, he had suffered a set back in his throwing program at Tampa. That day, he had felt something in his injured elbow, and the team was concerned it could be serious. Nady threw again yesterday and, in what Joe Girardi called an improvement, felt pain during only two throws.
Now, pain during two throws doesn’t sound too promising, but Nady is attempting to rehab a badly injured elbow while strengthening the supporting muscles. Anything the Yanks get from him this season will be icing on the cake. He will take off today and resume throwing tomorrow.
Brian Bruney: The Yanks once and future 8th inning guy began a throwing program yesterday. The Yanks have no timetable for his return yet, and I believe the team will take it slower with him this time around. I predict late June but possible after the All Star Break.
Damaso Marte: The Yanks’ left-handed reliever and late-inning specialist stubbed his toe earlier this week but will be back at it later this week. He will throw a bullpen on Friday, and the Yankees will evaluate his injury — now described as shoulder tendinitis — afterward.
Cody Ransom: Ransom injured his quad on April 25 and, due to roster needs, was immediately placed on the 60-day DL. He is eligible to come off on June 24 and will begin a rehab assignment with Scranton on Thursday. While I’m not sure what Ransom offers offensively at this point, he is a marked upgrade over Angel Berroa.
Jose Molina: Molina had to go for an MRI earlier this week when he injured his quad while rehabbing his hamstring. For a back-up catcher, Molina has suffered through a considerable number of leg injuries while with the Yankees. The team has not announce the results of the MRI yet.
Chien-Ming Wang: And finally, we arrive at the non-injured Chien-Ming Wang. The Yanks’ sinkerball specialist has thrown well of late and made an abbreviated appearance on Sunday. In a move that probably cost the Yanks a shot at the game, he was pulled after just three innings in case he had to start on Wednesday in place of Andy Pettitte (back spasms). Well, the move was for naught as Pettitte will take the mound on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Yanks said on Tuesday that Phil Hughes will be starting on Friday and that Wang will remain in the bullpen. How the Yankees plan to get Wang enough regular work to build up the arm strength to move him back into the rotation is anyone’s guess. No pitcher has pitched their way out of the rotation yet, and Wang has thrown five good innings after tossing two bad ones in his return from the DL. I still think he should have made another rehab start, but the Yankees have a plan. They’re just not sharing it with anyone else.