The relentless and inescapable injury plague has been contracted by yet another pair of Yankees contributors.
It has begun to spread like a thick river of hot magma, waiting to devour and destroy anything still remaining in its path.
Instead of the baseball gods taking the health of the first born, it appears as though everyone except the first born are being subjected to the cruel curse.
The four youngest members of New York’s 25-man roster—Ramiro Pena, Francisco Cervelli, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain—have all been spared.
Meanwhile, veteran after veteran suffers the wrath of the “ghosts of DL past.”
During last night’s Picasso-like masterpiece by “Doc” Halladay of Toronto, Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui were unable to play nine innings. Jeter, in particular, never even laced up his cleats.
While Jeter’s injury “does not appear to be serious,” Matsui’s always are. Godzilla has missed 200+ games during the past four seasons with issues ranging from a broken wrist to chronic knee pain.
To his credit, Matsui claims he “could have stayed in the game if needed,” and the injury to his hamstring is no more than a cramp. He is a proud man, but he was already undetectable in box scores long before these recent pains.
Another injury to his lower half will only compound the issues contributing to his lack of power, and will cause him to clog the bases worse than Butterbean after consuming a small cow.
Matsui has tried admirably to come back from yet another surgery, but it appears his body is finally conquering his dedication and determined work ethic.
Considering the lack of right-handed power in the Yankees lineup, it is time for a familiar face to get another chance. Xavier Nady is still recovering from arm pain, and Alex Rodriguez is clearly still feeling his way through Major League rotations.
Remember 1B/OF Shelley Duncan? Do you recall his thunderous biceps and intimidating forearm bash?
I am the first to admit he is the streakiest hitter in the Yankees organization, and is as likely to go 0-for-3 with three strikeouts as he is to go 2-for-4 with a 400-foot blast.
Over the next few weeks, however, New York needs a legitimate power threat to compensate for the injuries and ineffectiveness of Posada, Nady, Matsui, Teixeira, and Rodriguez.
Duncan is currently hitting .333 with 10 home runs, 29 RBI, 26 runs, a .405 OBP, and a 1.092 OPS in just 23 games. His competition is clearly less fierce in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he has earned his shot to help a struggling lineup.
Currently putting the finishing touches on a seven-day DL stint, Duncan is expected to return any day now. His energy, size, and light tower power would help rejuvenate a lineup without a potent designated hitter.
The eccentric Duncan is riding a hot streak dating back to day one of spring training. He excelled right in front of manager Joe Girardi’s eyes, batting .343 with 3 home runs, 10 RBI, and a .425 OBP.
A streak that lasts for the better part of three months begins to take on the characteristics of a trend. Perhaps Duncan will flame out after a short stint in the Bronx, but three to four weeks is all the Yankees need.
If Duncan is able to send just a handful of pitches deep into the night sky, he would provide a dynamic that has not existed for the duration of the 2009 season.
Should he prove to be healthy in the coming days, the Yankees should seriously consider recalling Duncan from Triple-A. He has the grit, fight, and Paul Bunyan strength the roster has been lacking from the right side of the plate.
The Yankees have hit countless home runs at the new stadium in the Bronx, but the fans in left field are beginning to feel ignored.
Throw these fans a bone, as they have actually showed up to each game to support a flailing roster. Throw them a big, thick, angry bone. Resurrect the pinstriped career of Shelley Duncan.
Hey, it’s worth a shot.
Also seen at: Heartbeat of the Bronx