When the news broke that Alex Rodriguez needed hip surgery that would keep him out until at least the All-Star break the Yankees scrambled to find a replacement.
They found one in Kevin Youkilis, a guy that would provide them with insurance on just a one-year deal. It was perfect and it looked that way in April when he started off hitting .424/.500/.727 in the first two weeks of the season.
Sure, the Yankees were desperate to get their injured stars back, but it appeared that there was no dire need to get A-Rod back. That was a great feeling considering even an All-Star break return was far from guaranteed.
Since then things have taken a drastic turn. The Yankees had only been able to get Youkilis on a one-year deal because of injury concerns and those turned out to be real as he has dealt with back issues for most of the season now. He’s played in just 16 games over the past two months. When he has been in the lineup he’s been totally ineffective and has hit just .136/.203/.186.
Meanwhile that has left the Yankees scrambling again to find third base help. They tried Chris Nelson, Jayson Nix, and now David Adams. None were especially successful so it seemed like a big deal when Youkilis was activated from the DL two weeks ago.
However, that joy was short lived. He has played eight games since his return and hit just .179/.233/.286 in 30 plate appearances. But even that production will have to be replaced as Youk has found himself hurt again, having re-injured his back while making a diving play over the weekend.
He’s technically day-to-day, but we’ve seen this before. Even if he can avoid a DL stint it seems unlikely that he’ll be productive. It might be wise to shut him down again, but for how long? A-Rod will be here in mid to late July. It doesn’t make sense to shut Youk down until the time A-Rod comes back.
In reality, the Yankees need to try to squeeze everything they can out of Youkilis over the next while hoping that Rodriguez has a quick and setback-free rehab. Because while Youkilis is a great replacement third baseman when he’s healthy, it seems that health is not an easy task for him.
• Michael Pineda made his first official rehab start on Sunday. He threw 4.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and a walk while throwing up to 95 mph. “I feel pretty good,” Pineda said. “Very excited. Long ago when I pitched in a real game. It’s good. I’m feeling normal. Everything’s coming. Everything’s good.”
• Vidal Nuno was placed on the minor league DL over the weekend with a groin injury. Nuno has been the Yankees emergency starter of late and has a 2.25 ERA while holding batters to a .213/.280/.373 line in three starts and five games this season.
• Joel Sherman of the NY Post says that Robinson Cano‘s lack of star power could potentially keep him from getting an A-Rod type contract. Love him or hate him, A-Rod has always been a huge draw with the Yankees, but Cano doesn’t attract that same attention. The Yankees, obviously, still want to keep their best hitter.
• Buy Yankees tickets.
Photo credit: (May 30, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America).