Mark Teixeira says his right knee feels great. He’s taking batting practice with no apparent problems and feels good enough to start tonight’s game at first base.
That’s pretty much the extent of the good news.
Joba Chamberlain is on the disabled list, Jorge Posada is away for the day, Russell Martin’s back is bothering him, Hector Noesi was temporarily sacrificed for fresh arms and the Yankees need a win tonight to stay in first place. If ever they needed Good A.J. to show up, this is the night.
“Every club’s going to go through injuries, and you got to find a way to get through it,” Joe Girardi said. “One of the ways to get through it is by what your starter does that night.”
Let’s hit on these issues one at a time, shall we?
On the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his right elbow
Turns out, Chamberlain’s elbow has been bothering him for a while. Girardi is about as careful with his relievers as any manager out there, and he was convinced that his setup man going through normal soreness. On Monday — one day after throwing a season-high 35 pitches — Chamberlain finally told the Yankees that it might be more than the normal discomfort.
He went for an MRI that showed a strained flexor muscle. He won’t throw at all for 10 to 14 days, then, if he’s healthy enough, he’ll start working his way back. This is almost certainly going to take more than 15 days.
“His arm has been a little tender the last couple of weeks, so we’ve been careful with him in what we’ve done,” Girardi said. “He played catch yesterday and he said, ‘It feels pretty good today, but it’s been tender.’ We had the doctor look at it, and they decided to do an MRI this morning. It’s really pretty amazing. He probably pitched with it for a while.”
Chamberlain said it never bothered him when he pitched, only afterward. He got a little treatment — ice and such — but he believed everything was fine. He said even today he feels like he could pitch, but he knows what the MRI showed and he knows he’s out for a while.
Both Girardi and Chamberlain said they believe with absolute conviction that the 35-pitch outing is not a direct cause of this problem.
“It just happened to be this is what it was after,” Chamberlain said. “But the 35 pitches had nothing to do with it. Obviously, if it was to this point, I would have said something to Joe, or Joe would have said something to me.”
To be fair, Girardi is notorious about his reliever rules. He’s generally a manager who plays it safe if he sees any cause for concern.
“Part of me believes that he pitched through it for a couple weeks,” Girardi said. “I don’t know exactly when the strain came in the muscle, I don’t. We hadn’t used him a lot. We used him when we needed him like we always would, but his stuff had been great.”
Day-to-day with a sore back
According to Girardi, Russell Martin’s back “locked up” after last night’s game. Martin told Girardi that he wanted to try to work through it and see if he could play tonight. Girardi told him to take the day off and go through treatment.
“I can’t tell you (when he’ll be back),” Girardi said. “When a back locks up, you really don’t know. It could take a couple of days. It could take three days. I can’t really tell you. It could be tomorrow.”
Girardi said if something were to happen to Francisco Cervelli, Martin would probably play. But he’s going into this game planning to manage as if he has no backup catcher.
Away for his son’s surgery
Jorge Posada is away for the night because his son is having surgery. It’s been known for a while that Posada would probably be away tonight, but Girardi indicated last night that Posada might be around to play first base if necessary.
Girardi said he expects to have Posada back tomorrow.
Back in the lineup after being hit by a pitch
Amazing that Teixeira has become a footnote. Showing up at the park today, I believed there was no chance the Yankees first baseman would be in there. Girardi said he went to bed last night also convinced that he’d be without Teixeira for at least one night.
At around 10 a.m., Girardi got a text from Teixeira saying he was good to go.
“Geno saw him and said he was ready to go,” Girardi said. “So I was really surprised.”
Teixeira said he feels good enough that playing the field shouldn’t be an issue. No need to DH tonight.
Optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Fair and unfair don’t really matter in situations like this. Of course Noesi deserves to stay, but after pitching six innings last night, he’ll need four days off. The Yankees decided to option him to Triple-A — where he’ll almost certainly work as a starter — and replace him with a fresh arm.
The Yankees will add two multi-inning guys before tonight’s game. They called up Amauri Sanit and claimed Jeff Marquez, the former Yankees prospect who was traded away in the Nick Swisher deal and ultimately designated for assignment by the White Sox. Still no word on a 40-man move for Marquez, but he’s coming straight here.
“(Noesi) grew up a lot in front of us,” Girardi said. “And we envision him as a starter one day. I can’t tell you that’s how we’ll use him in the near future, but that’s how we envision him, and we want him to work on his stuff. But it really came down to, we needed some arms… He did everything that we could have asked.”
• Girardi indicated that he doesn’t expect retribution for last night’s hit batters or the David Ortiz bat flip. “I didn’t hear our guys talk about it at all,” Girardi said. “It seems like it’s been talked about more amongst the media than our guys.”
• Girardi was asked if he second guesses the decision to start Freddy Garcia last night. “If I wouldn’t have pitched him yesterday, I think probably a lot of people would have said, what are you doing?” Girardi said. “But it’s easy to say after the fact that he didn’t pitch well, do you second guess? No I don’t second guess. This guy’s pitched well for us all year long.”
• Although Girardi said Martin might be available to catch in an emergency, he said he’s treating tonight as a two-man bench with Chris Dickerson and Andruw Jones. “I guess that’s probably safe to say,” he said.
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz DH
Carl Crawford LF
Marco Scutaro SS
J.D. Drew RF
Jason Varitek C
Associated Press photos