Yankees Injury Report: Latest Updates on Stars Heading into Spring Training

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Yankees Injury Report: Latest Updates on Stars Heading into Spring Training
David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Jeter is one of a few key stars ready to return in 2014 for the Yankees

It has been well documented that 2013 was the year of injury after injury for the New York Yankees.  Starters, as well as their backups, were falling by the wayside on an almost weekly basis, and manager Joe Girardi used more position players (56) than any of his predecessors in team history

The team carries with it a renewed optimism heading into the 2014 season.  With the addition of some new stars, and the hopeful return to health of some of their key veterans, the Yankees look to regain their place at the top of the AL East.

Central to that goal is beginning the season with the starting lineup intact, and that will require last year's fallen to reoccupy their spots in the order.

Perhaps the player the Yankees most need back to full health is Mark Teixeira. 

2013 never got off the ground for "Tex," as he tore a tendon sheath in his right wrist while preparing for the World Baseball Classic.  He managed to see time in just 15 games before ending his season with surgery to repair the damage.

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
The Yankees need Teixeira, stiff wrist and all, back in the lineup

With very little depth at first base (Kelly Johnson seems like the logical backup to Teixeira), the Yankees need the powerful switch-hitter to anchor their lineup. 

 

What's the latest?

As the Wall Street Journal reports, everything has gone well with Teixeira's rehab, and the sheath is healing as expected.  The first baseman said that he feels "stiffness" in the wrist and that "until June, and maybe even through this entire season, it'll be a little tight."

Given that the 33-year-old is already expecting to have some discomfort for most of the season, it is anyone's guess as to whether he'll regain his power stroke.  Regardless, his presence at the plate and in the field represents a boost to this Yankees team.

 

Like Teixeira, Derek Jeter's 2013 season was derailed before it even began.

The 39-year-old captain suffered a broken ankle in the opener of the 2012 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.

Progress in rehab for the ankle went slow during the winter of 2012, and after suffering a small setback last March, both the team and Jeter were hopeful for a May 1 return.

Following repeated attempts to stay in the Yankees lineup, where he ultimately appeared in 17 games, the Yankees finally decided to shut the shortstop down for good in September.

 

Seth Wenig/Associated Press
The Yankees' captain expects a full return to form in 2014.

What's the latest?

Given the extended time to recover, Jeter seems to have made the most of it to return to form.  Just this week the Associated Press reports that "Jetes" has begun taking batting practice and fielding grounders for the first time this year:

Jeter hit with authority to all fields during a five-round, 39-swing session Monday at the Yankees' minor league complex. Jeter also took grounders at shortstop for the first time this year, fielding 34 balls at his usual position.

"Everything is good so far, knock on word," Jeter said.

This comes as good news to the Yankees and their fans. 

As a 38-year-old, Jeter led the league in hits (216) and batted .316 in 2012.  The team and its followers hope their inspirational leader can finally put his horrific injury behind him and produce at that level again. 

Two seasons later, it would appear that only Father Time (he turns 40 in June) may stand in his way.

 

Michael Pineda's situation is similar to both Jeter and Teixeira in that he has suffered setbacks along his road to returning from injury.  What is different is that his age—25—isn't going to be a factor.

Kathy Willens/Associated Press
Can a healthy Pineda win the fifth starter's spot and finally live up to Yankees' expectations?

In January of 2012, the Yankees made headlines when they dealt their highly touted prospect Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners for the young all-star hurler Pineda.

Before he could throw a pitch in the Bronx, his season was done with an anterior labreal tear.

Gone was 2012. 

During his lengthy recover from surgery in 2013, Pineda suffered a setback with stiffness in his shoulder and was shut down for what turned into the remainder of the season.

 

What's the latest?

It has been reported that Pineda is healthy and ready to compete for the fifth starting spot in the Yankees' rotation.  If the big right-handed hurler can finally live up to the potential the club saw in trading for him, it would give the team one of the best rotations in MLB

 

This article would not be complete without mention of Alex Rodriguez.

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In addition to his very public PED issues with MLB, a Newsday graphic shows that the third baseman has suffered numerous injuries during his career.

 

What's the latest?

The most recent physical issue that Rodriguez has had to battle back from was surgery on his left hip in January of 2013.  He returned from that in August and played in 44 games, hitting just .244 with seven home runs.  It could be argued that the lack of production indicated that he was not yet fully recovered from the surgery.

Should the 38-year-old ever return to the Bronx, it remains to be seen if he will ever produce at the rate that he once did.  Always the one to put a positive spin on his situation, "A-Rod" has said his one-year suspension from MLB will give him the time he needs to rest mentally and physically. 

At this point, it may not matter.

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