The Yankees were recently dealt a hand that most teams might not be able to recover from. CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte both suffered injuries severe enough to send them to the disabled list. Teams have a hard enough time recovering from losing one top pitcher in their starting rotation, the Yankees lost two within twenty-four hours. If adversity is a team’s strongest opponent, then the Yankees are about to face their toughest adversary of the season.
Sabathia’s strained groin is expected to keep him out of action at least until the All-Star break, then he should be back and ready to go for the second-half of the season. However, that’s the early diagnosis. The Yankees are going to definitely take their time with Sabathia’s recovery to make sure he doesn’t have any setbacks. A big reason for that is because of Pettitte’s injury.
The status on Pettitte isn’t as optimistic as the one for Sabathia. Pettitte went down with a broken fibula after being struck by a line drive from Cleveland’s Casey Kotchman. The 40-year-old Pettitte’s timetable to return has him at least 2 months away and that’s not a sure thing because of his age.
This is normally the part where it’s time to entertain all of the trade possibilities and if there is any team that has the tools to pull off one it would be the Yankees. Matt Garza‘s name will come up and so will Francisco Liriano as potential plugs for the holes currently open in the rotation. However, for the time being, the Yankees are going to try and go with the arms already here and see who can step up.
Time will tell if the Yankees can get through this stretch coming up without their two top pitchers anchoring the rotation. Freddie Garcia is going to get a chance to contribute again as a starter and Adam Warren is getting the chance to come up from the minors and make an impression tonight in his major league debut against the Chicago White Sox.
The proverbial arrow to point would be towards Phil Hughes. If there was a time for Hughes to seize the moment and ascend to the starting pitcher that the Yankees have been looking for, it’s now. He’s pitched well as of late, however his consistency is going to be challenged over the next couple of months like it has never been before.
If the Yankees wanted a sneak peak into the future with their starting rotation, the’re going to get exactly that with Hughes and Ivan Nova put into the roles of anchors while Sabathia and Pettitte are out. Brian Cashman hasn’t shown any signs that he’s going to be in a hurry to pull off a trade for another pitcher. However, he knows he can if he needs to.
It would be hard to envision the Yankees playing much better than they have been over the last month. They were clearly on their way to putting a stranglehold on first-place in the division. Losing Pettitte hurts because of how quickly he was able to help stabilize the starting pitching. If they can find a way to hold the fort down at least until Sabathia returns, the Yankees should come out of this alright. They just can’t afford to suffer another major injury to their ball club. In the meantime, it’s all hands on deck for the walking wounded.