The Popular Place To Be If You're a Yankee: The DL
In the past two days, three Yankees have been put on the DL. Are the Yankees headed down the same road with injuries as they were last season?
Alex Rodriguez started the party with hip surgery in March and was put on the disabled list (or the DL as it is commonly known around baseball) until May 15th.
Xavier Nady was the next to go a little over a week into the season with a strain in his elbow. The Yankees aren't sure when he'll make his return.
That's two of the Yankees' right handed power hitters out of the lineup for a significant amount of time. It might be less of a big deal if the Yankees weren't such a lefty-stacked lineup, and the addition of Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher add two more switch hitters to the lineup, but there is no question that right handed power is important for the Yankees.
Chien-Ming Wang got off to the worst start of his career, going 0-3 with a 38.50 ERA in three games. The Yankees sent him to Tampa for a tune-up start rather than make him pitch against the Red Sox on Friday night, and on Saturday they placed him on the DL with a strained hip.
During Friday night's game against the Red Sox, the Yankees were up 4-2 in the eighth inning. Brian Bruney didn't come out to pitch the bottom of the inning, which striked concern in many of us watching the game. The eighth inning has become Bruney's inning, and he's really been effective setting up for Mariano.
It was revealed later that Bruney had felt a strain in his elbow while pitching on Wednesday and was sent home from the park Friday night to head back to New York to be examined by Yankees' team physician, Chris Ahmad.
With Alex Rodriguez out until about May 15th, Cody Ransom has been manning the hot corner. On Friday night while stealing second, Ransom appeared to have injured himself, and after advancing to third, he took himself out of the game.
After the game, it was revealed that Ransom had strained his quad on the slide into second, but he may only need a few days to recover. The Yankees still put him on the DL as a precaution, and called up Angel Berroa from Triple A to fill his spot.
Last year at the start of the season the Yankees had Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Phil Hughes on the DL. It seemed from there on out that they were constantly dealing with injuries and it put them in a hole that they couldn't climb out of.
The biggest loss in the bunch is definitely Brian Bruney. Without him, there is currently no one to set up Mo. The Yankees can get by without the right handed power of Nady and A-Rod for the time being, and they can fill the hole with Ransom on the sideline.
Some may think the loss of Wang is worse than Bruney, but the reality is no one is sure how Wang will pitch when he returns from this stint on the DL. If Wang returns to his former self, then there is no question the Yankee rotation is better with him; but if he can't find his way they are probably better off with him out of the rotation and Phil Hughes filling in his spot.
The bright spot in all of this is that with Bruney on the DL, the Yankees have called up Mark Melancon from Triple A. The 23-year-old right hander has been tagged as the next Mariano Rivera in the organization. His fastball tops out at 96 m.p.h., but it usually stays around 92-94 m.p.h. He supposedly has a killer 12-6 curve ball, and averages ten pitches or fewer in the innings he's pitched.
Perhaps this will give the Yankees a chance to get a real look at the future beyond Rivera.
Hopefully the party on the DL doesn't last long and those guys can return to their spots on the roster soon.
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