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Will the Yankees Ever Escape the Injury Plague This Season?

Will the Yankees Ever Escape the Injury Plague This Season?

By Derek McAdam

May 5, 2023


We are five weeks into the 2023 regular season, and the New York Yankees have an injury list that has wiped out nearly half of the 26-man roster. It has been a frustrating sequence of events that ultimately does not seem to be getting much better, as the Yankees await the results of the two latest injuries.

Going into Thursday, the Yankees had 12 40-man roster players on the Injured List, including three pitchers that were projected to be in the starting rotation to begin the season. As the season has progressed, Josh Donaldson, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are just a few of the names that have found themselves on the IL. That list may possibly grow in the next day or so with results from Harrison Bader’s and Oswald Peraza’s injuries.

Regarding Bader’s injury, it seems as if it’s either a concussion or some sort of neck injury, which can range on how bad the severity is. Yesterday was going to be the big test for Bader, in which the Yankees would determine how sore the outfielder was and potentially lean closer to some sort of diagnosis. Luckily for Bader, he made contact with Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s thigh and not directly on the knee, which most likely would have been an automatic concussion. However, it cannot be completely ruled out.

As for Peraza, it looked as if he got his cleat caught up in the dirt running to second base and lost his balance, causing him to roll his ankle heading into the base. In Peraza’s case, a rolled ankle would be the best-case scenario for the Yankees. On the Amazon Prime Video broadcast, Paul O’Neill said it looked like a hip injury just from the way Peraza was running. If that’s the case, who knows how long he may be out for. It would also likely require an IL stint.

The Yankees just cannot seem to find a way to keep their players healthy. But what I believe is an even bigger concern is the fact that players are getting injured while rehabbing. Let’s look at a few examples so far this season.

Yankee fans have been anxiously awaiting to see the debut of Carlos Rodon, who signed in the off-season a six-year, $162 million contract. Rodon’s contract suggests that he is the No. 2 starter in the rotation behind Gerrit Cole, and someone who could help propel the Yankees through the playoffs in October.

When Rodon went down with an injury in his first Spring Training start, it was projected that he would join the Yankees at the end of April or beginning of May. Here we are on May 5 and Rodon is nowhere close to being on the roster. In the midst of rehabbing his forearm injury, Rodon’s back began to bother him, which has set him back in his recovery. At the current moment, the Yankees may shut him down from throwing to focus on the back, which will most likely delay his return for at least another 4-6 weeks.

Donaldson is another Yankee who has been suffered a setback while rehabbing. While playing in a rehab assignment in Double-A Somerset, Donaldson re-aggravated his right hamstring injury, which was ultimately ruled as a “Grade 1-plus” strain. Donaldson was forced to miss at least a couple more weeks of baseball as a best-case scenario.

However, Donaldson did begin resuming baseball activities at the beginning of the week, but it still seems as if he has at least another week or two before he even resumes his rehab assignment. Regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of Donaldson, this is frustrating to see.

Lou Trivino is another Yankee that didn’t quite injure himself further by rehabbing, but this ultimately became a bad situation for the Yankees. Earlier this week, Trivino underwent Tommy John Surgery after the Yankees were hoping that he would be able to come back at some point this season. While the Yankees do have Trivino under contract through the 2024 season, they will most likely not see the reliever until some point during the middle of next season. Luckily, he is not a starter, and won’t take as long to build up. Nonetheless, it’s another blow to the Yankees.

Frankie Montas’ injury was also one that the Yankees were willing to wait out and see how he recovered, but ultimately had to undergo surgery, which will keep him out until August at the very earliest. Chances are, it will be later than that, if he even returns this season.

The big question that I have is who does this fall on? Is it the training staff’s fault for not being cautious enough with these players and delaying their return to the field? Are the players not taking the proper measures to ensure they stay relatively injury-free? I’m sure it’s a combination of the two for some players, but Brian Cashman is to blame for a lot of this.

Freak accidents are going to happen. Judge’s injury is one that could have been avoided, but it isn’t the same as Stanton’s continuous leg problems that are sidelining him for weeks, or months. Rodon stayed healthy for two years, but had a history of injuries while he was on the White Sox.

Montas is in a similar boat. He had a couple of healthy seasons, but has also had his share of injuries with the A’s. Same case for Donaldson. From 2017-2018, Donaldson missed the majority of games during those two seasons combined and missed half of the 2020 shortened season. One relatively healthy season does not mean that a player is free from injuries.

Yet Cashman took a gamble with each of these players. Rodon resulted in a long-term contract that is worth a lot of money. Montas resulted in the Yankees giving up several top prospects to acquire, and Donaldson’s $46 million over two years was a hefty contract for the Yankees to take on, especially for a player that had a down year in 2021.

I won’t go back and look at past Yankees signed by Cashman who were paid a lot of money and rarely saw the field, but fans could easily identify a handful of players that fit the bill. Of course, every team has had a big signing or player that gets hurt frequently, but this Yankee list is just astounding. The problem is not necessarily the players, but the person in charge who assembles the roster.

Hopefully, the Yankees figure this out soon, but someone has to take responsibility for the surplus of injuries. And it should be Cashman.


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