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Monday, March 18, 2013

TEIXEIRA'S INJURY DOESN'T MEAN THE COLLAPSE OF THE YANKEES


It's funny. If you read the local New York media, the Yankees are now the Mets… or something. What started out as Mark Teixeira being out until May has turned into something more, and apparently he is the only one that makes the Yankees play good ball.  Well I say this... Sure, Tex is hurt... AND??

Look, knowing the Yankees, an injury heals longer than reported... that's historic. They never seem to be totally upfront about injury and if they are, like Jeter for example,  it seems to come from the player.  So the latest news out of Yankeeland about Tex possibly being out longer than expected (read HERE) now with a tendon sheath isn’t exactly a development, OR, reason to panic.  Is it the collapse of the Yankee empire? Far from it. Again, we have 25 guys, not 1.

What’s disturbing though, is the way this injury to Teixeira happened. That's what I'm stuck on. How in the world do you sprain a wrist swinging off a tee? I mean, no offense Tex… this is what you do for a living.  I could see if it was an accident, tripping over a box or face planting on the sidewalk because you’re a klutz, but you’re swinging a bat, pre-game, for the World Baseball Classic and now you’ve jeopardized your chances of playing for your ACTUAL team this season.

Injuries happen, I know that, but now we have a big hole. And it gets more fascinating if you read Ken Davidoff (HERE), who writes: "Whether Teixeira, who disclosed at Yankees camp that his injury revolves primarily around the sheath of his right wrist tendon, will eventually need surgery to replace the partial tear — which could sideline him for the entire season — is unknown at this point, and moot for today. What we know for now is this:The closer the Yankees get to their self-imposed deadline to cut payroll, the more Teixeira looks like part of the problem, rather than the solution.

‘One thing I’ve thought about the last two years, I’ve been in the best shape of my life [and] I’ve had two injuries, so I think maybe it was just overuse,’ Teixeira told reporters at Steinbrenner Field. ‘Maybe I’m swinging too much. I swing twice as much as anybody.’”

Really? Come on Tex... you’re a baseball player that practices too much? The more and more I think about this, the more it sounds very odd.  Do I trust what Tex is telling us? You know what? I’m not sure. There, I said it...  It seems awfully mysterious.

Anyway…. Davidoff goes on: “He’s one of just three Yankees players, along with Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, who is signed beyond 2014, when team ownership has every intention of fielding a payroll under $189 million. We know ARod is the King Albatross. Sabathia, his offseason elbow surgery notwithstanding, still stands as an asset; he fought through injuries to reach the 200 innings-pitched mark last year, and good luck finding a replacement for him.

That puts Teixeira in the middle rack: Far from an albatross, yet if the Yankees could hit the “Reset” button on the $90 million they still owe him through 2016 ... they’d have to jettison the personable, accountable and replaceable first baseman.

We’re approaching the point of adding “fragile” to that profile. Teixeira used to be an iron man, one of his most endearing traits to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and he averaged nearly 157 regular-season games per season from 2009 through 2011. Then, last year, early nerve damage to his vocal cords and a late left calf condition limited him to 123 games prior to the playoffs, during which he put up career-low or near-career-low numbers across the board.”

It’s quite interesting.  The reality is, while it’s not the end of the Yankees, you have to put this in perspective much like Davidoff has.  We need Sabathia. We have to need ARod, but in the end, what do we do with Mark Teixeira, really?
In the meantime, many guys have been working hard to earn a spot in the Yankees lineup this season.  Erica Morales had a great BYB piece on Ronnier Mustelier HERE and he’s a logical alternative to third base.  That would mean that a guy like Kevin Youkilis could in fact move to 1st base.  There has been talk HERE that Joba Chamberlain is being scouted by the Rangers, and the Yankees like what they see in 1st baseman, 3rd baseman Mike Olt.
Then again, what about waving Ivan Nova at the Rangers for Olt? That’s been chatted about as well on Twitter and not a bad way to go, especially now.  What’s my point? That Yankees won’t sit quietly and watch the empire crumble, know that!  Sure, not having Mark Teixeira is a blow to the team, but it’s not the end of the world...chill.  When Tex is healthy, he’s healthy and eventually he’ll be back.  For now, we move forward like any team would. And sure, the Yankees will still try and cut payroll like they’ve been doing, but the options and replacements are there, and we’ll be fine.

It doesn’t excuse the fact that I’m very suspicious of this Teixeira wrist injury.  But that’s another post for another time. That being said... we have baseball to play and if it means without Tex and without Curtis Granderson... and without Phil Hughes... so be it... life goes on and so does baseball.

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