Oh boy the injury bug has stung yet another Bronx Bomber! Don’t worry it’s not Brian McCann or Mark Teixeira and thank that darn bug for not biting Derek Jeter. Aside from Jacoby Ellsbury, it’s the Yankees’ backup infielder Brendan Ryan who has been out with a back problem for over a week now. While the Yankees and Ryan are both optimistic we’ve all heard the same story before. Team doctors were originally worried that the shortstop had injured his oblique, which would be a lot more serious, they’ve determined that this was not the case. However, Ryan is concerned that it may be his lumbar that is acting up and if so we may be in for some familiar updates on our phone. Those updates being of the flashing “Disabled List!” nature that so plagued the Yankees last year.
Brendan Ryan was acquired from the Mariners late last season and the Yankees resigned him this off season to a 2-year deal. With Derek Jeter coming off an injury and other questions surrounding the infield the Yankees were hoping to use Ryan’s superb defense to their advantage in case of injury or as a late game replacement. If you think back to last year, Kevin Youkilis suffered a similar problem which was only considered to be “very minor” at the time but he was later ruled out for the whole season. While Ryan’s injury could very well be minor, back injuries are very strange and persistent problems.
Ryan is widely seen as one of baseball’s best defenders but does not display much hitting skill. Still, he is a valuable player on the Yankees squad that really needs some help in the infield. While Ryan’s back problem is troubling it is still spring training and he has some time to heal up as best as he can. Let’s take this news with a grain of salt. If Ryan is not able to start the season, the Yankees have had many infield candidates show some real potential this spring and they could call on one or maybe even two of them for some support. Brendan Ryan is an excellent defensive player and it would stink if he stays out for an extended period of time. So be on the lookout for the dreaded “Disabled List” notice but also take a deep breath because the Yankees are still in very good shape.