Desperately trying to right the ship, the New York Yankees can ill-afford the string of injuries currently hampering them.
By Emmanuel Berbari
All within the past five days, the New York Yankees have lost two key pieces of their roster to the disabled list and are in danger of losing a third. For a team that is currently latching onto every glimpse of light they can find, the subtraction of assets will ail the team more than the injured players themselves.
Attempting to beat out a throw to first in Baltimore, Alex Rodriguez pulled up lame. He was officially diagnosed with a Grade “one-plus” right hamstring strain that will sideline him a bare minimum of 15 days. With that being said, the Yankees will be without one of their pivotal power bats for somewhere around a month.
The second blow came with someone they did not expect to be as essential but proved he was. CC Sabathia hurled a seven shutout inning masterpiece in Wednesday’s 7-0 win over the Orioles. However, it was announced before Friday night’s series opener against Boston that he will be placed on the disabled list with a left groin strain. Similar to Rodriguez, Sabathia was clearly hitting his stride when he went down.
The third is very questionable and could end up being very frustrating. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury left Friday’s game with right hip tightness and was sent for an MRI. This latest tweak adds to the extensive list of injuries that have marred a talented outfielder’s career.
Ellsbury had reached base 10 times in his last 19 plate appearances prior to leaving the game. The eventual MRI results revealed a strained hip muscle, making his injury day to day. If it ends up being of the nagging type and Ellsbury misses extended time, the Yankees will likely have to dip into their minor league system and get creative with regards to the outfield.
Was any of this ideal? Absolutely not.
If the Yankees are to completely turn the tables and become a winning ball club again, any sense of inequity and unevenness will not help. The easiest route was to learn how to play a high-caliber of baseball with the roster that was assembled.
Losing a guy eight homers away from 700, a guy who has a Cy Young award to his name, and a guy who was catalyzing the Yankee offense is extremely detrimental to the team’s overall development.
Although the team was not producing as a whole with them on the field, the alternatives are questionable, to say the least. Sliding Dustin Ackley or Aaron Hicks, despite his clutch seventh-inning long ball, into the outfield may not be the surest bet. The same goes with Ivan Nova sliding back into the rotation.
The Yankees simply do not want to be in a situation where they are playing without two regulars and a key starting pitcher while trying to make up ground.
With a lofty average age (32), one of the main question marks coming into the year was health. Up until this week, there were no health problems and only issues with production.
Health problems persisting can certainly be an expectation, but the Yankees have to hope they have sufficient remaining production to get by during those times. As they say, a team will never start and finish a season with 25 men.