Whenever the Yankees play the Rays in St. Petersburg, the injured players on the 40-man roster who are assigned to the team complex in Tampa usually come by.
So here are some updates on those guys:
Jeff Karstens (groin strain): He threw three innings in an extended spring training game over the weekend and is scheduled to go five innings on Wednesday. If that goes well, he will start a rehab assignment with either Trenton or Scranton. Karstens said he feels great physically and it’s now a matter of getting his arm strength back. Karstens is thrilled with how well his friend Darrell Rasner has pitched in the majors. “He approaches it the same way I do, we’re not going to overwhelm you,” he said. “I hope I get my chance to help out.”
Humberto Sanchez (Tommy John surgery): The big guy is throwing off a mound and is scheduled to get in a game around June 10. “I have no idea what my velocity is but the ball is coming out of my hand as good as ever and my breaking pitch and off-speed stuff is good,” he said. “I can’t wait to get with a team and get started.” Sanchez’s wife is due in two weeks, so that will take up some of his time. He is hopeful of getting to the majors in September but that could be a stretch.
Andrew Brackman (Tommy John surgery): He is only nine months removed from his surgery and is still in the process of rehabbing his arm by throwing fastballs off a mound. He will not pitch in any games this season.
Phil Hughes (cracked rib): He still can’t do much beyond conditioning. No throwing, yet. They want to make sure he is fully healed, which they hope an x-ray will show later this month. Hughes was sporting his new glasses, however. He’ll be getting a different pair for when he pitches. It was good to see Phil, who is a favorite among the writers.
The Yankees have a four-field complex across the street from Steinbrenner Field. There are batting cages, a bullpen and a clubhouse with a weight room. That’s where these guys work out.
Along with the rehab guys, there are those players who aren’t assigned to minor-league teams. Most are young prospects or low-level prospects who will be assigned to the Gulf Coast League Yankees or the Staten Island Yankees. Those leagues get started in June after the draft.
There are extended spring training games in the meantime. The Yankees face players from nearby complexes in Dunedin (Blue Jays), Clearwater (Phillies) and St. Peterburg (Rays). There are umpires and the score is kept, but it’s not an official league. Once A-Rod is ready, he’ll play in those games. That way he can bat every inning to get some work in.
So where was Carl Pavano, you ask? The Rajah of Rehab, the American Idle himself? He was not at Tropicana Field. The Yankees don’t want him around and he doesn’t want to be around. He’s recovering from Tommy John Surgery and isn’t supposed to be ready until August. There is little chance that he’ll pitch for the Yankees.