The Yankees made some major roster moves before Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, with additional moves expected before they open a series with the Red Sox at Fenway on Tuesday. Chad Jennings of The LoHud Yankees Blog is reporting that three moves have been made in preparation for today’s game. Off the roster are Ivan Nova (15 Day Disabled List), Scott Sizemore (optioned to AAA) and Matt Daley (designated for assignment) . Newly added members are Mark Teixeira (activated from 15 Day Disabled List), Bryan Mitchell (called up from AA Trenton) and Preston Claiborne (called up from AAA Scranton).
Nova left Saturday’s game with apparent arm injury. It was revealed this morning by several outlets that he had suffered a partial tear of his UCL, but would be reevaluated on Monday. Elbow ligament tears have become increasingly common in today’s game. If Nova needs Tommy John surgery, he will be the twenty-first player on a 40 man roster since the end of last season to undergo the procedure. Looking forward, the recovery percentage for pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery has been terrific. The bad news of course is that Nova may be out until the 2015 All Star break.
Along with Nova’s injury, the Yankees suffered one of the most lopsided losses they are likely to suffer all season to the Rays on Saturday. The demoralizing loss came on the heels of another bullpen implosion on Friday night. After running a 17 inning scoreless streak, the bullpen seemingly could not get a single Ray out. There was no single culprit for the bullpen ineptitude, although the most vile offenders have been dealt with.
Cesar Cabral was DFAed on Friday after hitting three Rays in a row on Friday night and Daley was also after allowing six runs (four earned) in only one and a third innings. The Yankees brought up Mitchell from AA Trenton to be the long man today in back of Vidal Nuno‘s first start of the season. Mitchell was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday and should be good for about 85 pitches on Sunday. Mitchell has very little experience above AA so he is likely in town for Sunday’s game only and then sent back down to make room for David Robertson‘s return from the DL on Tuesday. The Yankees also called up Claiborne from AAA Scranton to provide another fresh arm for the bullpen. Claiborne had a 1.50 ERA with seven strikeout in six innings this season for the Railriders.
But not all the moves were signs of bad news and desperation, the Yankees also activated Teixeira from the Disabled List and sent Sizemore down to AAA. Sizemore had an opt out of his contract if he was not placed on the major league roster by May 1, but that clause has been rendered null and void after he spent the last few days with the big league club. Teixeira’s presence in the field will hopefully stabilize a shaky infield defense and provide a spark in a lineup that outscored the Ray 14-2 through the first twelve innings of this four game series with the Rays but since then has been outscored 27-2 in the last 15 innings.