With only three days before competitive baseball is played (a two-game Seattle vs Oakland series in Japan), the Yankees have several question marks in their lineup and rotation.
Luckily, the Yankees have a few more days before their season actually gets started, but Aaron Hicks and Luis Severino are both out for Opening Day, and both players signed contracts with the Yankees this offseason.
Severino is dealing with rotator cuff issues and will be out until at least May 1st. This forces the Yankees to insert someone else into the rotation early-on.
Candidates for that position are Domingo German, Luis Cessa, and Jonathan Loaisiga.
German had the most MLB innings last year out of the three with 85, Loaisiga had 24 and Cessa had 44. However, Cessa has had the best Spring out of the three and has the most overall MLB experience. He has 13 K’s in 13 IP with a 0.69 ERA.
German has pitched also pitched well with 18 K’s in 11 IP, and a 1.029 WHIP.
Fans should be excited if German gets the call to the majors to fill that fifth roster spot. I would expect him to get the call, personally.
There is a silver lining with this Severino injury. Severino suffered an atrocious second half of the season in 2018 and credited fatigue and pitch-tipping to his downfall.
The beginning of the season appears less important as the end of the season, even though all the games count the same. It would benefit the Yankees to cut Severino’s season short at the front of the year instead of cutting it short at the end. Fans would much rather have ace-Severino in August and September instead of April and May.
Pivoting to the lineup, the $70 million man Aaron Hicks has been suffering from a stuff back that has kept him out of baseball activities and it was reported today that he will miss the beginning of the season, at least the first Baltimore series.
He begins the season on the injured list according to Brian Hoch.
Aaron Hicks will begin the season on the injured list, but by backdating his injury, it is possible that he could return for the April 1-3 Tigers series.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 17, 2019
This opens the door for Bird and Voit to battle it out on the major league roster. When Hicks returns (hopefully soon), the Yankees will finally be forced to choose between the power lefty or power righty. With all the versatility the Yankees acquire this offseason, it does not seem reasonable to keep two, one-dimensional players on the roster. Hicks’ injury simply delays the decision.
As for his injury, there is reason for concern and I would rather see the Yankees bring him back slowly.
Back injuries can ruin a career. They also can lead to other injuries, such as LA Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw suffering from throwing issues this season after battling with back injuries in prior seasons.
Hicks had an oblique injury last season and that could be affecting his back this season.
Speaking of oblique injuries, Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the Yankee clubhouse today and had a physical and bloodwork. Also he has been hitting off a tee as he rehabs a hip injury (I thought it was his oblique, or his feet, or something!!!) according to nj.com.
There is not room for the $153 million man currently and he will see some time in AAA waiting for his chance in the majors. Unfortunately, keeping with the theme of this blog, injury at the MLB level seems to be the only way that Ellsbury makes it back to the Bronx.
Hopefully his future is much different than the other CF that the Yankees signed in Hicks.
Again, speaking of injured center fielders, Yankees top prospect Estevan Florial suffered an non-displaced right wrist fracture after an awkward fall against the center field wall in a Spring Training game. He received x-rays and manager Aaron Boone did not seem overly worried according to the New York Post.
He has other center fielder injuries to worry about.
But hey, the Yankees still have Aaron Judge!
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