Many prominent players are scheduled to return within the next two months. In no particular order, here is the Yankees’ current disabled list, and what could be expected upon their returns.
Curtis Granderson- It has been roughly two months since Granderson was hit in the forearm by a J.A. Happ pitch during a preseason game. His broken forearm seems to be recovering, as he has been taking at-bats in extended Spring Training games with apparently no setbacks. Once Granderson completes a few rehab games, he should recapture the role of the everyday centerfielder, with Brett Gardner moving to left field and Vernon Wells either platooning at one of the corner outfield slots or sharing time as a designated hitter with Travis Hafner. Granderson will most likely maintain his fine fielding skills as his legs were unharmed. His hitting remains a mystery, but hopefully his injury will cause no further problems with his swing. He should be back within the month of May.
Mark Teixeira- Tex is returning from a torn tendon in his right wrist. He has been taking swings, which is a great sign. However, wrist injuries are pesky, and it may take some time for bat speed to completely return. Fortunately, Lyle Overbay has been performing well in his stead, so it would be frivolous to rush Teixiera back into action. Tex may be sidelined until the All-Star break; The Yankees and fans alike should be prepared to live a little longer without the switch-hitter.
Derek Jeter- The Yankees’ captain and leader, Derek Jeter has not been much more than a fan thus far into the season. Jeter has been dealing with a broken ankle suffered during a defeat to the Detroit Tigers in last year’s playoffs. That same surgically repaired ankle is still cracked, casting a dark shadow over his season. He has already ruled out a return for the All-Star break, and at this point, Jeter will be lucky if he returns to his usual self before August. The shortstop position will be manned by Eduardo Nunez for now, and probably will be manned by him until the summer unless a drastic recovery is made soon by Jeter.
Kevin Youkilis- After being placed on the disabled list for a lumbar spine strain, Youkilis is reportedly felling better. He has received a few epidural shots to relieve pain, but has not seemed to complete much rehabbing yet. Youkilis should return during May and regain his third base slot, pushing Jayson Nix back into his usual utilityman role. At least Nix should back up Nunez at shortstop in case anything serious happens.
Joba Chamberlain- Joba has been dealing with a right oblique strain. While he might be back in mid-May, it is unlikely. Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto has the same injury and he was scratched from a rehab start for which he was presumably healthy for. Obviously Chamberlain is a completely different pitcher, but Joba has an injury history, and a fairly extensive history considering he is only 27 years of age. Chamberlain and Cueto also have the same initials, so take from that what you wish. Joba should take the necessary time to heal; he wasn’t pitching all that well when he was healthy anyway, and the harsh reality is that the Yankees don’t need him at the moment.
Ivan Nova- He has been rehabbing for triceps inflammation. He should be reinserted back into the rotation in the next few weeks.
Michael Pineda! While he hasn’t played since 2011 because of shoulder surgery, he still possesses the potential, and the ability, to become a solid starter for the Yankees later in the year. Pineda has always been reminiscent of a young, right-handed C.C. Sabathia with his size and pitching velocity. If Pineda can throw at least into the mid 90′s with decent control of his pitches on the mound, the Yankees’ rotation would be a sight to see.
Imagine a rotation with Sabathia, Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Phil Hughes! It would seem to be a dominant one barring any other injuries. If Pineda recovers, along with Granderson, Teixiera, Jeter, and others, the Yankees would be in a prime position to make a run for the AL East title.