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Yanks Hold Breath As Injury Bug Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda will be placed on the 15-day IR after suffering a back injury.

Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda will be placed on the 15-day IR after suffering a back injury.

The New York Yankees will be forced to navigate some choppy waters as notable injuries struck the team this week.

The club announced on Tuesday that pitcher Michael Pineda suffered a back injury while pitching a simulation game in Tampa, Fla., and could miss three-to-four weeks of action.

Currently serving a 10-game ban for the well-publicized pine tar incident against the Boston Red Sox last week, an MRI revealed a Grade I strain of the Teres major muscle. The Yankees’ immediate response was to shut down the 25-year-old for 10 days, before deciding on a course of action.

General manager Brian Cashman intimated that the injury could see Pineda out for three-to-four weeks.

Pineda, who missed the last two seasons through injury, becomes the second Yankees starting pitcher to be extradited from the lineup this season thanks to injury, joining Ivan Nova, who successfully underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week. Nova will miss the remainder of the season.

As things stand, Vidal Nuno (0-0, 5.69 ERA) will continue to spell Nova while David Phelps (0-0, 3.86) will slot into the rotation in place of Pineda. The Yankees will then look to its farm system to fill out the bullpen, once Pineda can officially be placed on the 15-day DL following his suspension running its course this coming Monday.

That leaves the trio of C.C. Sabathia (3-3, 5.11 ERA), Hiroki Kuroda (2-2, 5.28 ERA) and Masahiro Tanaka (3-0, 2.27 ERA) to steer the team forward from a standing point.

Meanwhile, newcomer Jacoby Ellsbury sat out Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners with what manager Joe Girardi described as a “sore left hand”.

Wednesday’s game against the Mariners was postponed due to inclement weather, giving the outfielder an extra day of rest. Girardi labeled the injury “minor” and said he expects Ellsbury back soon.

The Yankees though would prefer not to see their $153m signing spend too much time on the bench, even if the outfield is currently overstocked with talent.

Newcomer Jacoby Ellsbury is said to be suffering a "sore hand".

Newcomer Jacoby Ellsbury is said to be suffering a “sore hand”.

Elsewhere, backup catcher Francisco Cervelli remains on the 60-day DL with a Grade II hamstring strain. He won’t be eligible to return until mid-June. John Ryan Murphy is currently filling the backup role behind Brian McCann, while Austin Romine – who appeared in 60 games for the Yankees a season ago – is currently at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Triple-A.

Although the current situation won’t have the Yankees’ front office reaching for the red telephone just yet, it will almost certainly lend itself to a few nervous glances, some crossed fingers, a host of (not so) silent prayers and, as Yogi Berra would say, a distinct feeling of déjà vu all over again.

Just a year ago the Yankees were decimated by injuries, ultimately missing out on the postseason for just the second time since 1995.

In addition to Pineda missing the entire season at the big league level, the Yankees were forced at various stages of the season to play extended periods without Cervelli (hand), Curtis Granderson (hand), Derek Jeter (ankle), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Kevin Youkilis (back), all projected to be starters during the campaign.

Those six played a combined 182 of 972 games, about 19 percent of the total game time. Granted, Cervelli missed 50 games due to suspension following the Biogenesis scandal, but you’d have to be a die-hard Red Sox (or Mets) fan to claim injury didn’t play a huge role in the Yankees finishing their season early.

So, having seen both Jeter and Teixeira facing niggling injuries to start this year, with Ellsbury showing early signs of wear and tear, and with 40 percent of the starting rotation out of commission, Girardi, Cashman, the Yankees and the Bronx faithful will be holding their collective breath that the team isn’t struck with any further serious injuries.


Wednesday’s postponed game has been rescheduled for June 2 (7:05 p.m. ET) when Seattle heads east again for games in Atlanta and Tampa.

The Yankees (15-11) are scheduled to meet the Mariners (11-14) on Thursday (7:05 p.m. ET), weather permitting. You can find odds and trends for the game here.

Looking ahead to the weekend, the Yankees will close out their current homestand with a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Mariners meanwhile will visit the Houston Astros for a weekend series before closing out a long road trip with a four-game set against the Oakland Athletics (Mon- Thu).


For a full list of today’s Major League Baseball odds, click here.

For MLB Futures odds, courtesy of Bovada, click here.

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For player prop bets, click here.

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