Pitching is an important piece needed to win. So too is hitting. The New York Yankees are unfortunately seeing players from both sides go down.
60 percent of the starting pitching is on the DL. Ivan Nova, a promising young pitcher, is out for the season. Manager Joe Girardi said he would be “shocked” if C.C. Sabathia were to come off of the DL after his 15-day stint. Michael Pineda is more important to the team now than he ever was since being traded from Seattle, and he too is out until after May.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran was set back by a bone spur in his elbow, and now outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is day-to-day with flu-like symptoms, but he too is known for being injury prone. Starting first baseman Mark Teixeira has been feeling pain his knees recently, and he came out saying it would take months before his wrists were fully healthy.
The Yankees are not getting any younger. 40-year-old outfielder Ichiro Suzuki hurt his back trying to make an awkward catch, and at his age, that’s something that could take some time to come back from.
Girardi has seen the domino effect before just one year ago. However, this year can be much different. They are currently in first place and do have a healthy lineup for the most part. The team will need contributions from Brian McCann, Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Ellsbury and Teixeira. He will also rely heavily on veteran starter Hiroki Kuroda and early Cy Young candidate, rookie Masahiro Tanaka, to keep the team in the early race.
The 2013 Yankees, even with all of the injuries and their average age being around the same, managed to win 85 games. Girardi and the franchise can only hope for the same results as the AL East race remains tight. If they can get offensive contributions and manage to keep the older players healthy, the Yankees can continue to be relevant in the AL.
They will also need Tanaka to continue to dominate the games he starts and for Kuroda to be better than average if they have any hopes. Girardi will have to look in his binder for combinations to help continue the Yankees’ early success.