Apr 13, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcherFrancisco Cervelli
(29) grabs his leg on the ground after singling against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Well, it’s deja vu all over again. The Yankees are facing injuries once again in the early going of the season. David Robertson and Mark Teixeira are on the disabled list, Brian Roberts is a little beaten up, Francisco Cervelli has been sent to the 60-day disabled list and Yangervis Solarte was recently hit in a… very sensitive spot and is likely still a little sore. Oh the humanity! It’s 2013 revisited! Well not quite. The difference is that, unlike last year, the Yankees can survive these injuries.
Why is this? Well, first off. these are very different injuries than last year (knock on wood) and second, every team in the AL East is beat up. The Tampa Bay Rays’ devastating pitching staff has turned into a devastating trauma ward as Matt Morre is out for the season after needing Tommy John surgery and Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson are both on the disabled list. Over in Boston, star second baseman Dustin Pedroia is dealing with a bad wrist, closer Koji Uehara is dealing with a shoulder injury, first baseman Mike Napoli is out with a dislocated ring finger, third baseman Will Middlebrooks is on the disabled list with a calf strain and right fielder Shane Victorino is out with a hamstring strain. Boston has fallen victim to Murphy’s Law: Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. The Baltimore Orioles have lost Manny Machado and Nolan Reimold to injuries and the Blue Jays are without Adam Lind, Jose Reyes, Casey Janssen, and Maicer Izturis as they all heal from their injuries. Medic!
So it would appear that the Yankees haven’t received the worst bites from the injury bug and its allowing them to not only survive, but thrive in the AL East. The Bombers took 3 out of 4 from the Boston Red Sox before dominating the Cubs in a two-game set Wednesday. The Red Sox biggest trouble in the series was scoring runs and injuries played a big part in that. The Rays are stumbling as their mighty rotation has crumbled and they’re getting ready to face the rolling Yankees in a four-game series starting on Thursday. The Blue Jays are playing well but even they have seen some problems as Reyes and Janssen are key parts to their team. The Blue Jays lost 2 out of 3 games t0 the Yankees earlier in the season. The Orioles won a series against the Yankees, but have had their struggles nonetheless. The injury bug has bitten the East and it’s only nibbled on the Yankees’ roster.
The Yankees four big time imports, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka are all enjoying good starts and fans in the Bronx are watching their rotation consistently pitch deep into games. The loss of Francisco Cervelli was mended with an easy call for reinforcements from that vat of catching depth in the minors. First baseman Mark Teixeira is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday and closer David Robertson should be back on Tuesday. Brian Roberts‘ back pain is not considered series and his substitute, Scott Sizemore picked up 2 hits and a RBI in the second game against the Cubs. The loss of Teixeira has opened the door for the emergence of Yangervis Solarte and has given the team a positive look at Dean Anna. It hasn’t been too bad in Yankeeland compared to everyone else in their division (Once again… knock on wood).
So in the end it’s not 2013 all over again. The Yankees have actually been able to find positives in their injuries. Their bullpen lost it’s closer and had to step up. So they did as Shawn Kelley has yet to blow a save and neither have any of the other relievers. Solarte has opened a lot of eyes throughout baseball after being asked to be an every day player while Teixeira is out. Players on the Yankees are stepping up when needed and it hasn’t been the same with other teams in the AL East. It’s not 2013 yet. The Yankees are not just surviving, they are thriving and feeling really good flying to St. Petersburg on a 4-game winning streak. They’ve just got to capitalize on other team’s woes. So far they have. Let’s hope they keep it going.