If you haven’t read it already, be sure to check out Brian’s article on the Yankees’ lack of roster flexibility and how it has hurt them recently. For an explanation on why they have so little flexibility right now, I thought I’d run down the list of injuries the Yankees have been dealing with so far this season that has stunted their hot start.
Injury Roll Call
Jorge Posada: Posada is having a downright phenomenal season this year, but he has missed quite a few games due to various injuries. Actually, his list of injuries is probably the longest on this list. So far he’s missed time because he was hit on the knee with a pitch, suffered a calf strain, and lately he has been missing time because of a foot injury he sustained this past Sunday when one of the Twins fouled a pitch off of it. These injuries have not killed the Yankees because Francisco Cervelli has played so damn well, but it has thinned out their bench.
Derek Jeter: Jeter has played in 38 of the Yankees 39 games so far this season, but he has been dealing with various bumps and bruises that would keep normal ball players out of games. Most notably was when he was hit on the hand by a Justin Verlander fastball in Detroit a week ago. His average hasn’t dropped much since then, but it seems to have been keeping him from driving the ball with consistency.
Robinson Cano: Like Jeter, Cano’s injury has been very minor. He was hit on the knee with a Josh Beckett fastball a little over a week ago. Cano hasn’t missed any time because of it, but he did come out of that game and his average has dropped over 25 points since then. That’s probably due to regression, but these type of little things tend to add up over a season.
Curtis Granderson: Granderson’s injury has strained the Yankees more than most. He injured his left groin on May 1st and hasn’t played since. This has weakened the Yankees defense by forcing Marcus Thames to play more than his share in the outfield and has severely depleted their bench for the same reason. When Granderson comes back it will be a big immediate lift to this team.
Nick Swisher: Swisher injured his biceps between games during a double-header in Detroit a week ago and hasn’t played consistently since. This was an early season injury that he largely ignored, but since it flared up again the injury, combined with Granderson’s injury, has left the Yankees outfield in shambles and was possibly one of the biggest reasons the Yankees lost last night.
Nick Johnson: Johnson has missed time this season after simple sessions in the batting cage left him sore, but his latest injury, a wrist injury that could force him to have surgery, is the biggest. This is going to be a huge hole for the Yankees as the summer gets started and one that might sap him of some power even after he returns. Some might have said the Yankees should have seen this coming, but this seems to stem from a wrist injury in 2008 and he did play nearly an entire 2009 season without this being a problem. So, this was definitely one that took the Yankees by surprise.
Andy Pettitte: Pettitte’s last start was a brilliant one, but right up until game time the Yankees had some serious questions about his elbow. It seems that he has recovered from it quickly, but it already caused him to miss one start and could possibly resurface down the road this year.
Alfredo Aceves: Aceves has a bulging disc in his back that has caused him to miss quite a decent amount of time, he hasn’t pitched since May 8th and the Yankees don’t know exactly when he’ll be back. This has been especially taxing on this team as Aceves wears a couple of hats in the bullpen. He’s everything from a long-man to an 8th inning specialist at times. Missing him has already put a tremendous strain on a bullpen that probably is going to struggle with consistency until Aceves returns.
Chan Ho Park: Park missed more than a month of time with a hamstring injury that lingered for some time. Even though he’s back he has already shown that he is coming back with quite a bit of rust. Hopefully he can shake that off quickly and start to return the Yankees pen to some normalcy.
Mariano Rivera: Rivera has not spent time on the DL this season, but he probably should have. Rivera missed almost two weeks at the beginning of the month with stiffness in his right side. Since he has return, he too has shown considerable rust. He blew a save on Sunday and then got the loss last night against Boston. His velocity seems a tick down and his control has been especially bad. Hopefully this is not a lingering issue and Mo regains his patented pinpoint control ASAP.
Thoughts: This team is no where near the 2009 Mets yet, but things have to start straightening up for them soon or the Rays could start pulling away and the Red Sox will start gaining ground. The outfield and bullpen have been especially bad for them. That should change soon, at least in the outfield, where Swisher isn’t expected to miss a ton of time and Granderson is probably a week or so away from a return.
The interesting thing will be to see what the Yankees do at DH. Will they just wait patiently for Johnson to return? Or will they make a trade or call somebody up (Jesus Montero)?
Update Wed 6:12: Here are some of the most recent updates on these players”
Swisher still isn’t available tonight and admitted that the injury is worse than he initially let on. A trip to the DL still isn’t likely, but it explains why he’s still out.
The Yankees also sent Posada in for a MRI today because his foot has not gotten better the way they have expected it to.
Aceves received a cortisone shot on Friday to alleviate some pain. He’s expected to play catch tomorrow.