Injury Woes Continue To Haunt Struggling Yanks

Mike DuffyContributor IMay 28, 2008

After last night's lat strain to Ian Kennedy, the most recent of injuries to an already thin pitching staff, where should the blame for placed for the abundance of injuries plaguing the Yankees this season?

Not even counting position players, the sheer amount of injuries to pitchers, especially youngsters, raises a huge red flag that should be addressed sooner rather then later. There are currently six pitchers, not including Kennedy, who are on the DL that are on the 40-man Roster.

Brian Bruney will likely require season-ending surgery to repair a joint in his foot that he injured early in the season while trying to cover first base. Phil Hughes has what started out as a right oblique strain, but later turned out to be a broken rib, which landed him on the 15-day DL in late April.

Don't be surprised to see him added to the 60-day DL sometime in the near future, as Yankees' staff don't expect him to even throw again till July.

Jonathan Albaladejo is still recovering from a sprained elbow ligament in his pitching arm, an injury which in most cases takes quite a while to heal if not requiring Tommy John surgery, even though he is on the 15-day DL. All of whom were on the active roster until their respective setbacks.

            This is the second time in consecutive years that an injury has ruined Hughes’ season. Last year, as many Yankee fans remember, Hughes was pulled from a no-hitter after injuring his hamstring which landed him on and off the DL multiple times in 07. Although coming back to finish the season, he was not the same pitcher as before his injury. Most of these injuries could be prevented with adequate conditioning.

            It is well known that pitchers as a whole tend to suffer the most injuries out of any position on the diamond. But when a pitcher goes down week after week on the same ball club, someone needs to take responsibility; you can’t just chalk it up to it being an injury prone player or a freak occurrence.

            After a string of injuries similar to this season, and almost immediately after Hughes being pulled from a no hit bid, heads rolled as the Yankees fired a trainer who mainly worked with the pitchers, as most complained of his style and ethic with many refusing to take part in his regimen, opting to go down their own path.

            At this point, the weight should not be placed on the player’s shoulders. Youngsters and players who don’t normally find themselves on the DL like Derek Jeter are getting hurt. Wilson Betemit landed on the DL twice in the span of a week, going right back on the DL after only a few days off it.

            Something needs to change in the player's conditioning, whether it be during their practices, the weight room, or aerobic room, something needs to be done in order to improve the current state of health.

            Maybe a shakeup is in order; put the pressure on trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue as well as current strength and conditioning coach Dana Cavalea who, ironically, recently appeared on the YES Network’s “Kids On Deck,” a show geared towards children that highlights players’ lives on and off the field, to show how he trains his players.

            If Kennedy lands himself on the DL, it will greatly impact an already struggling Yankees team who can’t afford to have questions in their rotation just when their bats are finally starting to come alive.