Lingering Spencer Jones injury uncertainty clouds Yankees' good times

2024 New York Yankees Spring Training
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Whether you believe Jasson Dominguez is the Yankees system's brightest star or you've been wowed by Spencer Jones' potential, it's fairly clear the best version of the team's future hinges on both players' development paths.

While Dominguez's Tommy John surgery, following an impressive big-league arrival, was less worrisome for him than it would've been for a young pitcher, it can certainly be counted as a serious interruption of his routine, especially considering the great work that immediately preceded it.

Jones' development is paramount, too, and with so many factors at play (unprecedented size, swing changes), any interruption, ranging from minor to major, is noteworthy. Jones doesn't have a big-league role waiting for him right now, but time lost can never be recovered. Every day counts.

So far, Wednesday marks five games lost for Jones, who was scratched from Somerset's opener with a "stiff neck," and hasn't returned.

Yankees' Spencer Jones hasn't appeared in 2024 minor-league game yet

As recently as April 4, there was no hint of an injury. Jones was the biggest ticket member of Double-A Somerset's roster by far, and was used in their promotional materials on April 2 and 3, when a post showed him signing autographs at FanFest.

The next day, he filmed an advertisement for Saturday's promotional giveaway of 1,000 Spencer Jones pennants. Somewhat silently, though, he has yet to play in a single game, despite being touted daily leading up to the team's season.

Whatever's truly bothering him, it remains unclear when the ailment was first reported or suffered (unless you believe something he encountered pregame Friday has knocked him out for nearly a week).

Is it alarmist to be writing about a five-day stiff neck as if Jones' ticking clock is growing louder by the day? Sure. We'd never say that Jones' future is at stake as long as this stiffness is as minor as it was sold as last week.

But if the team doesn't provide clarity soon, this is bound to become the Neck Stiffness Heard 'Round the World. Either Jones woke up as wrongly as he ever has, or there's something a bit more fundamentally wrong with his body. And, while he's as projectable as any athlete in the minors, let alone the Yankees' system, all of his reps are genuinely crucial as he transitions into a full-time baseball player. He's toolsy, but not ready yet.

At the very least, the fans of Somerset would really like to see him -- or some clarity.