Yankees: Hamstrings, the bane of MLB players and now, CC Sabathia

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees are awaiting the results of an MRI that will determine the length of time Sabathia will be lost after suffering a hamstring injury last night in Anaheim. Usually, the news is never good when it comes to the “hammies”.

Yankees pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain while running the bases in September 2015. He was pushed back and lost one start. In September 2016, both Starlin Castro and Carlos Beltran went down with hamstring injuries, with Castro’s occurring while he was running the bases, resulting in time on the DL.

Jorge Posada suffered the same injury while sliding into a base in 2009 and Mark Teixeira went down in early April of 2014.

Jon Neise, pitching for the New York Mets then, crumpled to the ground while throwing a warmup pitch in 2009.  He was diagnosed with a strained right hamstring and was lost for the final two months of the Mets season.

Yoenis Cespedes, the highly paid outfielder of the Mets, has been on and off the DL since he arrived in New York two summers ago with hamstring-related injuries. Cespedes being Cespedes apparently has his faulty regimen to return to the lineup. And the Mets being the Mets have allowed him to do it.

Thankfully, the Yankees don’t have that problem with their players who remain under the direction of the team doctor’s before play is resumed.

Yankees Girardi: “It’s an issue.”

Bus respect to CC Sabathia, Joe Girardi was quick to point out, because he knows from experience, that Sabathia’s injury “is an issue.” Which, coming from Girardi, is like pulling the fire alarm in a school building.

Amy McGrorry, writing for WebMD, describes a hamstring injury this way:

"Picture a baseball player running to first base. He goes into a sudden sprint. The quadriceps are called into action to propel the run, and his hamstrings counter the pull of the quadriceps (much like a stagecoach driver pulling up the reins on a horse).If the player’s hamstrings are weak or fatigued, they can’t handle the force generated by the quadriceps. The player may feel a pop or a twinge in the back of his leg, and see bruising in this area. Strains range from mild grade 1 tears with some discomfort to severe grade 3 tears where the athlete can’t even bear to put weight on the injured leg."

Are hamstring injuries preventable?

With some controversy, there are many medical experts who believe that most hamstring injuries can be prevented, or at least significantly reduced, with a proper exercise routine. And this most often equates to routine pre-game stretching exercises.

Getting to the ballpark early means not only seeing batting practice, but also the habits of players as they prepare for a game. And one thing you’ll notice immediately are the players along the first base line with any number of odd-looking rubber band like things doing any number of odd looking exercises.

Doctors and trainers agree that these movements of the body is a prerequisite for preventing injuries of all types, but most significantly, strains on the hamstrings.

Which maybe makes it more important to notice the players who are NOT on the field, but are grabbing a sandwich in the clubhouse instead,

More from Yanks Go Yard

Be that as it may, hamstring injuries, anytime they occur, are a cause for concern for any team. And the primary reason for that is the unpredictability as to when the injury will fully heal.

Make the wrong or untimely decision that a player is “ready” resulting in the greater chances of a recurrence of the same injury. (Source: New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes).

Data abounds that suggest hamstring injuries as the bane of baseball. The American Journal Of Sports Med published an article in 2011 that has only been aggravated since the study was conducted. In it, they stated:

"Approximately two-thirds of these injuries in both the major and minor leagues resulted in more than 7 days of time loss. Approximately 25% of these injuries kept the player out for 1 month or longer. History of a previous hamstring strain in the prior year, 2010, was found in 20% of the major league players and 8% of the minor league players. In the major leagues, the month of May had a statistically significant higher frequency of hamstring injuries than any other month in the season."

But we don’t need to get that technical because when something looks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is a duck. And hamstring injuries cost teams hundreds and millions of dollars a year in terms of salary paid out, with nothing being received in return while a player is idle.

With respect to Sabathia, though……..

Nothing here should suggest that Sabathia caused his own injury, because of all pitchers on the team, he is the go-to guy in the clubhouse in talking to guys as to how to prepare yourself to have a long and successful career in the big leagues.

And the New York Post’s George King should be ashamed of himself for suggesting that the injury would never have occurred if Chris Carter hadn’t bobbled a ball at first base leading to the only run Sabathia allowed.

As Girardi said, though, the injury is a cause of deep concern for the Yankees. And once they “grade it” with an MRI, we’ll know better. But in the meantime, Sabathia will be given a prescription that requires no baseball activities until further notice from the team doctors.

What to do in the meantime? My colleague, Mike Calendrillo, has some thoughts in a piece published earlier today.

The loss of Sabathia for any length of time is considerable and cannot be shuffled away. The Yankees of 2017 have gone through a litany of injuries well cataloged by Yanks Go Yard and others. And there’s no reason to believe that this one is just another hiccup which this resilient team will challenge and overcome.