Yankees: Let’s Get Real About Some Of These Injuries

Yankees Fans (Photo: NBC 10)

Yankees manager Aaron Boone is designated to give the “Injury Update” every day. Don’t bother listening; it barely matters in this campaign…

The Yankees Injury Update report can be counted on to use the words if, maybe, could, projected, and mapped out effusively with regards to any or all of the players accounted for in the report. It’s a daily ritual Aaron Boone is forced to endure. Reporters dutifully follow up from their embedded standing with the team.

With all these injuries, it’s almost like the Yankees are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

It’s a useless exercise, though. None of the Yankees currently injured players are coming back. And if they do, it’s highly suspect they will have a positive impact on the 2019 Yankees. As a reference point, here’s a look at the current Injured List of the Yankees as put together by Brian Hoch of MLB.com.

As you might expect, the list is long and arduous. In the interest of brevity, I’ve deleted players deemed out for the year, and those who don’t figure in the Yankees plans this year anyway.

It’s there for your reading displeasure following these observations:

Yankees: Time Is Not On Their Side

The Yankees have forty some odd games remaining in the regular season. The playoffs will follow. Yes, the Yankees have the luxury of a ten-game lead in their division that can afford them the opportunity to “experiment” with returning players, ready or not.

But what about the players who are rewarded for their accomplishments in the Yankees farm system – three weeks from now when the rosters expand?

Moreover, and even more significantly, what about the Yankees drive to secure the best record in the American League (over Houston), giving the team home-field advantage throughout the playoffs? They should discount that effort to hand at-bats to a returning player so he can (maybe) get his timing back?

Realism Meets The Yankees Injured List

Luke Voit, New York Yankees (Photo: New York Post)
Luke Voit, New York Yankees (Photo: New York Post)

As you make your way down the list below, there are a few exceptions to these questions. Edwin Encarnacion is a hitting machine who can hit a baseball in his sleep.

Ditto Aaron Hicks, who has become so used to bouncing on and off the IL, it barely bothers him. And CC Sabathia will always be able to figure a way to get hitters out, no matter what is ailing him.

But take someone like Luke Voit and his sports hernia. One doctor said of his injury that it affects every movement our body makes – even raising a cup of coffee to our lips. Let alone swinging a bat with the force and violence Voit exhibits when he hits. As much as he’s missed in the lineup, it ain’t gonna happen.

Dellin Betances and Luis Severino receive the most attention, with tracings of every rehab step. Of the two, Severino appears to be ahead, pitching off a mound for the first time Friday. But here’s the kicker. Does Severino go to the bullpen because he hasn’t had enough time to build up enough arm strength to make a start or two? And if he goes to the bullpen, where does he fit in with a team firing on all cylinders?

With all these injuries, it’s almost like the Yankees are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Try as you might, it doesn’t work.

And neither should the Yankees when it comes to players pushing to return from injury.

Brian Hoch’s List And Analysis

Dellin Betances, RHP
Expected return: Late August/September
Betances has been throwing on flat ground at distances up to 90 feet as he attempts to return from a Grade 1 strain of his right lat muscle, which was diagnosed by an MRI on June 11. Betances could throw from a mound on Aug. 12. Prior to the MRI, Betances had been recovering from a right shoulder impingement that was diagnosed in March and delayed his season debut. (Updated: Aug. 8)

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH
Expected return: TBD
Encarnacion sustained a right wrist fracture when he was hit by an 87.1 mph slider from Red Sox reliever Josh A. Smith on Aug. 3. The Yankees said Encarnacion will remain in New York and will be re-evaluated by doctors in seven to 10 days, with a further rehab timeline to follow that evaluation. (Updated: Aug. 3)

David Hale, RHP
Expected return: August
Hale was diagnosed with a lumbar spine strain after a July 26 appearance against the Red Sox in Boston. His IL stint was back-dated to July 28, and Boone said he is hopeful that Hale’s injury will be of the short-term variety. Hale threw 30 pitches in the bullpen on Aug. 8. (Updated: Aug. 8)

Aaron HicksOF
Expected return: TBD
Hicks injured his right elbow making a throw from the outfield to third base in Game 2 of a doubleheader on Aug. 3. Hicks said he felt pain in the elbow and reported it later to head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, exiting for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He was placed on the 10-day injured list the next day with a right flexor strain. (Updated: Aug. 4)

Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP
Expected return:
Loaisiga is on a rehab assignment with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and could be utilized out of the bullpen once he is cleared to rejoin the big league roster. He was diagnosed with a right rotator cuff strain after having an MRI on May 13. The Yankees placed Loaisiga on the 60-day injured list on May 14. (Updated: Aug. 8)

CC Sabathia, LHP
Expected return: Mid-August
Sabathia played catch on Aug. 5, the first time that he had done so following his second right knee-related timeout of the season, which included injections of platelet-rich plasma and a lubricating agent following his July 29 start. He also had a precautionary MRI on his left shoulder, which revealed no significant concerns. (Updated: Aug. 8)

Gary Sánchez, C
Expected return: August
Sanchez (left groin strain) was not activated from the IL when eligible (Aug. 3), but Boone said he is “very close to being an option.” Sanchez is currently playing Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and is expected to be activated on Aug. 10. (Updated: Aug. 8)

Luis Severino, RHP
Expected return: Late August/September
Severino is expected to throw 20 to 30 pitches from a bullpen mound on Aug. 9, with hopes of helping the Yankees either as a starter or a reliever for their postseason push. Initially sidelined with right rotator cuff inflammation in early March, an MRI on April 9 revealed a Grade 2 strain of his right latissimus muscle. (Updated: Aug. 8)

Giancarlo Stanton, OF/DH
Expected return:
Stanton sprained his right posterior cruciate ligament on a slide into third base on June 25. Recovery has been slow for the slugger, who is said to have regained his range of motion and has been able to resume running and hitting off a tee. General manager Brian Cashman said that Stanton is not expected to return before rosters expand on Sept. 1. (Updated: Aug. 8)

Luke Voit, 1B
Expected return: TBD
Voit was diagnosed with a sports hernia after being forced to exit a July 30 game, which the Yankees believe is related to the lower abdominal strain that sent Voit to the IL after a June 29 game against the Red Sox in London. Voit had a cortisone injection and is hoping to avoid surgery, which Boone estimated would keep him out for at least six weeks. Voit is said to be optimistic about his chances of avoiding or delaying surgery. (Updated: Aug. 8)

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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