Banged-Up Yanks Take Three Out of Four from Boston
Over the weekend, the Yankees took three out of four in their series with Boston, which suggested that maybe this year would be different from last year.
But injury scares and makeshift lineups proved that maybe we haven’t come as far along as we had thought.
The series finale on Sunday night began with inauspicious news: Both Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts would be benched, Jeter with a tight quad and Roberts with a sore back. The injury-prone Roberts hasn’t played a full season since 2009, and Jeter…well, we all know how last year turned out.
That’s not to mention what happened during the game. Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli was removed after injuring his right hamstring beating out a double-play ball down the first base line. At least his injury was fruitful, in a sense; his hustle allowed the eventual winning run to score. The Yankees announced Monday that Cervelli was headed to the disabled list after an MRI showed a Grade 2 strain.
Two other players experienced injury near-misses on Sunday as well. Brian McCann was grazed on the right index finger by a pitch that ricocheted off Boston batter A.J. Pierzynski, but he stayed in the game and x-rays were negative. Yangervis Solarte also appeared questionable to finish out the night after he crumpled over in pain after a bang-bang play at first. The low man on the totem pole was instructed not to leave the game unless absolutely necessary, and he trooped it out.
It’s not like the Yankees could afford to lose another infielder. At that point in the game, Carlos Beltran had already substituted at first base for Cervelli, two players removed from Mark Teixeira, the person who is actually supposed to be there. Whether or not Roberts winds up on the DL has a big effect on the rest of the infield; if he’s healthy, then Kelly Johnson can play first while Solarte covers the hot corner. If not, Solarte will be needed to cover second, leaving the Yankees without a true first base backup. Dean Anna, Jeter’s fill-in, could also see some time at second, provided Jeter is healthy enough to play as well.
If we look on the bright side—and what other choice do we have when dealing with injuries—at least we can take solace in the fact that the rest of the AL East is banged up too, and probably worse than the Yankees. At nearly the same time Jeter was scratched on Sunday, the Red Sox announced that Dustin Pedroia would sit because of a nagging wrist injury. They have also been without Shane Victorino since the beginning of the season, and closer Koji Uehara has missed some time. However, both are expected to return soon.
The Orioles will likely have to do without third-base sensation Manny Machado until mid-May, and the Rays were dealt a crushing blow to their normally lights-out rotation when Alex Cobb went on the DL on Monday with an oblique strain. The Rays already lost a Tommy John surgery-bound Matt Moore for the remainder of the season, and this is a team that relies heavily on pitching for wins.
The Yankees begin this week in a three-way tie for first place. Yes, it’s early, but given the challenges they’ve already been dealt, Joe Girardi has got to be feeling pretty good.
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