30 April 2008

Injuries, Pitching Big Problems for Yankees

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson:

"D'oh! It just gets worse and worse!"

Not only is Jorge Posada on the disabled list for the first time in his 13 year career, now Alex Rodriguez is joining him. This is the first time since Y2K that A-Rod has had to go on the DL, though hopefully his strained quadriceps will be able to heal with two weeks of rest. Posada's shoulder injury, though the team is hopeful that it won't end his season, might take more than that. Torn rotator cuffs usually do.

For those of you scoring at home, that's $41.1 million in salary on the shelf (not including Carl Pavano's $11 mil). Last year, those two players combined for 74 homers, 234 runs, 246 RBIs and an approximate percentage line of .325/.425/.600, and missed only 22 games between them all year. This year they've already combined to miss 14 games, and we're only 28 games into the season.

Needless to say, the Yankees were counting on them a great deal coming into 2008, though as I mentioned the other day, the fact that the Yankees are hovering around .500 is as much the fault of the starting pitching and Robinson Cano's and Jason Giambi's failure to hit as it is result of any injuries.

I was wrong about Posada's expected replacement, though. Apparently Chad Moeller wore out his welcome in Yankeetown. (Lot of nerve he had, hitting .350 in those six games!) Actually, he had to be waived so they could make roster space for Jonathan Albaladejo and Chris Britton). The new backup is someone named Chris Stewart, a 26-year old non-prospect (his minor league line is .253/.314/.361 in 1425 at-bats). River Ave. Blues has a decent profile of him, but basically says you shouldn't get two attached to him since he expects Moeller back after he clears waivers.

Worse yet, Phil Hughes had another awful outing last night: 6 Earned Runs in 3.2 innings, including 11 baserunners and two wild pitches. Hughes now has an ERA of exactly 9.00 and has walked 13 batters in 22 innings this year, after averaging just over two walks per nine innnings throughout his minor league career.

People who know more about pitching mechanics than I do are saying that he's got something wrong with his, but I've looked at some of his footage from last night and compared it to footage I took when he was wiping up the field with the Portland Sea Dogs a year and a half ago, and I can't see anything. Whatever it is, if he doesn't start showing some promise, he's going to find himself working out the bugs at Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The American League is no place to be ironing out one's kinks.

As a side note, after last night's game, Johan Santana is now 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 40.1 innings. The Yankees could have had him, at one point, for Hughes, OF Melky Cabrera, pitching prospect Jeff Marquez and another prospect. You think they're still glad they didn't make that trade?

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