David Phelps has been something of a blessing for the New York Yankees posting a 10-9 record with 4.10 ERA and 1.30 WHIP across 51 games, 23 of them starts. Phelps has solidified the back-end of the Yankees’ rotation. That is, however, until he went on the disabled list last month with a strained forearm. Phelps had been making rehab starts in Trenton when he was shutdown with what has been described with another forearm strain.
Given the recent history of the Yankees’ injuries and re-injuries the issue with Phelps is a little disconcerting. Remember, it was only a year ago that top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his elbow before being put under the knife this past off-season with Tommy John surgery. It isn’t far-fetched to think Phelps’ injury might be more serious than what the Yankees are letting on.
There is also the recent shutdown of Michael Pineda to point to as well. Pineda was shut down for a week to ten days during his rehab with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after reporting soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder. The subsequent MRI showed no damage but there is still no timetable for his return despite the week to ten day first assessment.
Next season, the Yankees could be without Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte. Of course, all three could return but the prospect of losing three-fifths of a starting rotation is daunting. Phelps is someone Joe Girardi can pencil in at the backend of the rotation and know he will receive a somewhat decent outing in return which is all a team can ask of their bottom of the rotation starters.
Phelps might not be an ace but he is a valuable member of the Yankees moving forward and if the injury is more severe than originally thought this could really complicate the Yankees’ plans for 2014. Right now, it might be nothing more than a forearm strain which is not serious. However, given the recent history of the Yankees and their medical issues it might be smart to keep Phelps on the shelf for a little while longer.