The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Yankees need the services of a M.A.S.H. unit

When shortstop Troy Tulowitzski suffered a calf strain on April 4, he was the 11th Yankees player to go on the Injured List (new name for the Disabled List). The MVP for the New York Yankees this year just might be the team’s head of the medical staff.  With the unfortunate rash of injuries to a number of players, team physicians, trainer, and rehab coaches will be busy trying get the players back on the field.  The big question is whether they can return soon enough to avoid incurring a big deficit in the division standings.

In addition to Tulowitzski, the Yankees’ casualties since Opening Day have included third baseman Miguel Andujar (small tear to the labrum of right shoulder) and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (left bicep strain).  Coming out of spring training, they had previously lost the services of outfielder Aaron Hicks (stiff lower back), relief pitcher Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement), starting pitcher Luis Severino (inflamation in right rotator cuff) and starting pitcher CC Sabathia (knee and heart procedure).  With the exception of Tulowitzski, who was brought on during the offseason to replace injured shortstop Didi Gregorius (Tommy John surgery last season), these players were all key contributors to the team that won 100 games last year.

The other player injuries were leftovers from last season: outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (hip and foot), pitcher Jordan Montgomery (Tommy John surgery), and pitcher Ben Heller (Tommy John surgery).  With the nature of their injuries, they weren’t being counted on for this season anyway.

However, the Yankees are not panicking just yet.  Fortunately, they have some depth and versatility on their roster coming into the 2019 season.  They still have some formidable bats in the lineup with Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, Brett Gardner, DJ LeMehieu, and Greg Bird.  Minor leaguers Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade have been recalled to the big-league club to provide reinforcements.

The pitching staff might be more questionable though.  Severino and Sabathia were being counted on in the starting rotation.  In the meantime, Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo German have been given big-league promotions.  Neither of them has any substantial major-league experience.

Stanton, Betances, Sabathia, and Hicks are projected to be back in the lineup by the end of April.  Gregorius is expected to return by the All-Star break.  But Andujar (last year’s runner-up for Rookie of the Year) could be out for the season, while it could be late May before Severino (19 wins last season) returns.

It’s been said that pennants can be lost in April.  If a team gets far enough behind in the standings, it takes a Herculean effort and a lot of luck to get back into contention for a playoff spot.  Luck is one thing the Yankees don’t have so far this season.  Even before incurring all these injuries, division rivals Boston and Tampa were expected to provide stiff competition for the Yankees.  Those teams would do well to use the opportunity to create some separation from the banged-up Yankees early in the season.

However, if the Yankees can stay around .500 for the month of April, they should have ample time recover when players return healthy.

Aaron Boone’s managerial skills will be well-tested as he works his way through this period of having a makeshift roster.  Injuries to key players can be demoralizing to a team.  Even the most experienced managers have previously struggled in similar situations to maintain their team’s focus.

Perhaps the second-year Yankee skipper will need to have the phone numbers of his medical staff on speed dial to keep tabs on the status of his injured players.  He’ll need a healthy roster as soon as he can get it.

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