Today, a panic swirled around the Bronx as injury news threatened to derail the Yankees roster, less than a month before opening day. Suddenly, the Yankees, who were already expected to miss embattled pitcher Frankie Montas to start the season, saw the injury bug take aim at a handful of key contributers.
A Fallen Ace
Starting with the most concerning Yankees injury news, the team announced that Carlos Rodon suffered a mild forearm strain and would be shut down for at least a week. Yankees fans quickly assumed the worst as forearm strains can sometimes be a precursor for the dread Tommy John Surgery.
However, nerves were calmed after the Yankees announced that MRI showed not damage to the Ulnar Collateral ligament and with Rodon saying that if the season was on the line, he would have been able to take the mound. Regardless of how long Rodon ends up being out, it shows an increased concern for the pitching depth on the Yankees roster.
With both Rodon and Montas expected to miss the start of the season, the Yankees roster will turn to Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt to round out the rotation. The Yankees are still currently expecting to have Nestor Cortes join the team, but he did pull out of the World Baseball Classic with a hamstring strain earlier this Spring.
A Concern in the Outfield
Unfortunately, the starting rotation wasn’t the only area of the Yankees roster hit with the injury bug. It was announced later today that speedy centerfielder Harrison Bader suffered an oblique injury during the Yankees game this past Wednesday.
After a sensational Postseason, Bader was expected to serve as a key piece on the Yankees roster. With the continued struggles of Aaron Hicks, the Yankees had planned on using Bader to roam center field, pushing Aaron Judge to right where he would have a decreased chance of suffering his own injury.
Now, the Yankees will likely have to rely a bit more on the embattled Aaron Hicks. Once a key fixture in the Yankees starting lineup, injuries, a declining bat and some confusing plays in left field has most Yankees fans hoping to see less of Hicks in 2023. Sadly, with the Bader injury, it doesn’t appear that outcome is likely.
Down Goes the Bullpen
Over the last decade, in can be argued that no team has invested more into a bullpen than the Yankees roster. With past stalwarts like Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton no longer with the team, the Yankees had invested heavily in an influx of new talent.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, the bullpen was also hit by the injury bug. Earlier this offseason, it was announced that Scott Effross would need Tommy John surgery. Today, the team announced that both Lou Trivino and Tommy Kahnle would join Rodon on the injured list to start the season.
For Trivino, the lefty acquired before last year’s trade deadline from Oakland, the team announced that a mild elbow strain would keep him out until at least May. Meanwhile, Kahnle who rejoined the Yankees this offseason after spending the last two years with the Dodgers is suffering from bicep tendinitis.
In their place, the team will likely have to further lean on the arms of Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes. The Yankees could also look at a reunion with Zack Britton or perhaps veteran reliever Corey Knebel who were unable to find new homes during this offseason.
For the Yankees, the good news is the team has so far avoided major injury concerns. As of now, Rodon, Bader and those in the bullpen are still expected back early in the season. However, in a difficult AL East, every game will likely matter and the team can hardly afford to lose any other starters.
Let us know how you think these injuries will impact the Yankees roster and their outlook on the 2023 season in the comments below!
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