MLB: Current State of Crippled Yankees Roster
Recently, injuries have not been a rarity among the Yankee’s roster. It seems as if the players continue to drop like flies, as players are continuously added to the DL. The start to this season resembles last years crippling start to the season.
The infield is currently missing four of its players: infielder Brendan Ryan, first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and catcher Francisco Cervelli. Adding on to the unfortunate circumstances was second baseman Brian Roberts, who was taking time off for lower back soreness. Jeter had been missing from the lineup, but it was only for a short period of time, as he stepped on the field again to play the Cubs.
Ryan is spending time on the 15-day DL due to a pinch nerve in his upper back. This has opened up the shortstop position to Dean Anna for a few games, as Jeter has seen time on the bench due to tight quadriceps. Manager Joe Girardi has been protective over Jeter’s health in previous games. With this being the veteran’s last season, it’s important to prevent an injury, especially after last year’s limited 17 games.
Teixeira is another player placed on the 15-day DL. The injury resulted in a strained right hamstring a mere four games into the regular season. The strain took place as he sought after a foul ball during the second inning. Teixeira is a player who has seen his fair share of injuries in recent years. In game four of the 2010 ALCS he faced the same injury as his current one, with a strained right hamstring. Last year he was placed on the DL due to an injured right wrist. One of the fill-ins at the first base position is Kelly Johnson, who is batting .244 on the season.
Catcher Cervelli is taking the most time off after being placed on the 60-day DL with a strained right hamstring. He had seen plenty of time off in the recent 2013 season. Last year he faced a fractured right hand, as well as a 50-day drug suspension in August.
Further into the game containing Cervelli’s injury, the Yankees faced a possible emergency as catcher Brian McCann’s right finger was grazed by the ball in the eighth inning. An injury to McCann would have depleted the catchers available in that game. To combat the absence of Cervelli, the Yankees have recalled John Ryan Murphy from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to fill in at the catcher position.
Another missing key player in the lineup is right handed pitcher David Robertson, who has been placed on the 15-day DL. An MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain in his left groin. This is only the second trip to the DL in the pitcher’s career, the previous trip being a strained left oblique in the 2012 season. The bullpen is currently missing one of its most valuable pitchers, but with players like Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and closer Shawn Kelley who have given stellar performances on the mound, there is enough talent to get the bullpen through its games in the closer’s absence.
Infielder Brian Roberts is active, but took time off after reporting lower back soreness. An MRI was taken, but proved to be negative. Infielders who were eligible to fill in for Roberts were Yangervis Solarte and Anna, although the time period was short, as Roberts is currently set to start at second base and bat eight in the lineup against the Rays.
The Yankees have also recalled infielder Scott Sizemore from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, who has seen a start at third base, and will also be starting at first base in the upcoming game against Tampa.
Excellent candidates for the third base position include Solarte, with a .348 average, and Sizemore, at a .333 average. Rodriguez has left third up for grabs, as he will be absent with a season-long suspension due to the use of performance-enhancing substances.
The only completely stable part of the Yankees lineup is the outfield. Contributing is Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano. Suzuki leads the team with a .435 average followed by Ellsbury with .353. Beltran is shaping up to be one of the team’s sluggers, and was recently named American League Player of the Week after successful offensive performances.
While the Yankees lineup is lacking many key players, it is still able to show dominance as it’s currently leading the AL East with nine wins and six losses.