The injury bug has once again hit the New York Yankees. With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the shelf, should the Yankees be in panic mode?
The New York Yankees dealt with the injury bug all of last season, but still somehow managed to win more than 100 games. There’s no way they can bank on that kind of performance from their secondary guys for a second straight season, but the injuries are already piling up again and it can’t be something the club is happy about this early in Spring Training.
First, it was Luis Severino who hit the shelf with forearm tightness that turned into Tommy John surgery. Then Giancarlo Stanton suffered a calf strain that will sideline him for a couple weeks, and now Aaron Judge is suffering from a sore shoulder and pectoral muscle.
That’s just the injuries to occur in spring training. Aaron Hicks is rehabbing from offseason elbow surgery and James Paxton is rehabbing from back surgery, although he is scheduled to start a throwing program sooner rather than later.
All of these injuries pose the question: should the Yankees start to panic?
The answer is no. The injuries to Judge and Stanton are relatively minor, and the team knew they would be without Paxton and Hicks when they arrived in Tampa. What the Yankees are more worried about is to keep what are minor injuries from turning into major injuries that sideline their two big bats for an extended period of time.
It’s never good when a team with World Series aspirations is missing three outfielders, but it also helps when your General Manager is able to create depth all around the field. Brian Cashman has done that, and the Yankees will turn to Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman to fill the void.
Obviously those guys aren’t the equivalent to Judge and Stanton, but Gardner is a veteran entering his 13th season in the big leagues, and Frazier hopefully has turned a corner defensively because we know he is a threat offensively. The Yankees are also hopeful that Tauchman can carry over what he did last season into this season until the big bats return to the lineup.
On the pitching side of things, not trading J.A. Happ this offseason has turned into a blessing. The Yankees are now down two of their top three starters and are going to have to find innings somewhere.
Michael King and Clarke Schmidt are the closest guys to being ready internally, but it is unclear if the Yankees are going to go that route, so it’ll be on them to prove the coaching staff wrong. It’ll be on Happ and Jordan Montgomery’s shoulders to at least fill the void that Paxton left until he returns.
Injuries are never ideal, especially when they happen to two of your most important position players, but the Yankees dodged a bullet in terms of severity, and they should have guys who are more than capable of bridging the gap until they return.