Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain Hits DL, Injuries Piling Up
Let's all hope for the Yankees' sake that they have good health insurance. With Joba Chamberlain hitting the DL Thursday, the Yankees can't afford another injury. In the last week alone, the Yankees have placed 3 players on the DL (Chamberlain, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli). These players have been added to a DL including former all-stars Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira. As of now, it seems that the Yankees DL resembles a playoff squad more than there actual 25-man roster.
With that being said, the Yankees and their fill-ins have made their way to the top half of the AL East with a 17-10 record. The Yankees did a fantastic job of acquiring veterans like Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells who were willing and able to step into a starting role, and who understand they may head to the bench when the stars return. Hafner and Wells have combined for 28 runs, 12 home runs, and 30 RBI up to this point. They are certainly stepping up to the plate when the Yankees need it most.
The other offensive force that the Yankees possess is 2B Robinson Cano. In his contract year, Cano is poised for a career year. He's batting .324, with 19 runs, 8 home runs, and 18 RBI. Hafner has been providing significant protection for him, forcing pitchers to pitch to Cano. He's easily the star of the team and will be counted on as the season continues.
The Yankees can credit much of their success to their pitching. C.C. Sabathia has been as consistent as ever as the ace of the staff and Hiroki Kuroda currently has an ERA under 2.30 and remains one of the most underrated pitchers in the entire league. Mariano Rivera has fully returned to form (as if he had any doubters) and 11 saves. If this is his last year as he's said it will be, he'll be leaving on top.
The question now is whether the recent injuries will push the Yankees over the edge and into a tailspin. Youkilis was very productive during the first month of the season and Cervelli was proving to be a revelation for New York. Chamberlain was serving as a very effective bridge to David Robertson and even earned a save the other night against Houston. To answer that question, I don't expect the Yankees to fall off significantly. You would think the Yankees' spirits might be down, now with 7 or 8 significant players on the DL. Fortunately for the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi knows all the right buttons to push to get the most out of whoever wears the Yankees pinstripes.
Some good news for the Yankees is that Granderson and Teixeira are still progressing in their recovery and could both be back before the end of May. If that happens, they'll both slide right into the middle of the lineup and provide a spark for the Yankees.
The one thing I'm most interested in is how many hurt Yankees will make the all-star team despite missing significant time. If Granderson or Teixeira makes it, I could let that slide because they'll only be missing a little over a month. If Jeter or A-Rod makes the all-star game, I think the league will have to take a serious look at fan voting.
Next up for the Yankees will be a home series against the Oakland Athletics. Sabathia gets the ball Friday night against A's pitcher A.J. Griffin. Check in to ESPN Binghamton for all your latest Yankees news.