The Yankees didn’t only win last night’s game. They survived it.
“Barely,” Joe Girardi said.
How well the Yankees survived is still a little unclear. The team’s closer is going for tests, last night’s starting pitcher has a bad ankle and the game-winning homer came from a player who hasn’t been healthy in a month. Here’s a quick look at last night’s injury report, along with what each situation might mean in the immediate and distant future.
Teixeira has been sick since the Welcome Home dinner early last month. He got on some new medication for it last week, but admitted last night that it hasn’t gotten much better. “I wish I could say yes,” he said. “I’m trying to be really positive, saying it’s not worse. It’s not a lot better.”
Short-term: For now, Teixeira is playing through the coughing fits and the trouble breathing. He says he’s healthy enough to be productive, and last night seems to be proof. Girardi said he might give Teixeira a day off during this road trip to help him get healthy.
Long-term: If this thing lingers much longer, it’s hard not to wonder whether it will have a real impact on Teixeira’s production. If Teixeira has to miss some time at some point, the Yankees could shuffle things around to play Nick Swisher or Eric Chavez at first. Also, their hottest hitter in Triple-A right now is first baseman Steve Pearce, who could theoretically help fill the gap if necessary. But it seems unlikely that it will come to that.
Sore left side
On his left side, around the ribcage — could be in the oblique — Robertson has felt soreness for the past four days. He’s expected to go for tests to day to see if there is any real damage or if it’s just a little bit of pain that will go away with time and treatment.
Short-term: If Robertson is going to miss a few more days, the Yankees have Rafael Soriano has a more-than-capable fill-in as closer. Cory Wade and Boone Logan have been awfully good this season and would naturally slide into setup roles. Might even see David Phelps get a look in some of the late innings while Freddy Garcia becomes the regular long man.
Long-term: The possibility of an oblique injury is pretty significant, and if Robertson has to miss significant time, it would be the third blow to the bullpen this year. First Joba Chamberlain’s return was pushed back, then Mariano Rivera was lost for the season. Brian Cashman has said so far that he has no desire to trade for relief help. Wonder if that tune would change if Robertson were going to miss a more than a few days.
Being hit by a comebacker wasn’t enough. Nova also twisted his right ankle when he fielded a comebacker in the sixth inning. It was his last play of the game, and he hobbled off the field. He was still hobbling in the clubhouse, admitting that he was in significant pain.
Short-term: David Phelps pitched last night, and he would seem to be a natural spot starter if the Yankees needed to skip Nova this next time around. Having Freddy Garcia would be another option. Either way, the fact the Yankees have two true long relievers right now means they’re in a good spot to fill in for a starter on time through the rotation.
Long-term: If this is more than one start, it would see that Phelps would immediately move back into the rotation, Garcia would become the only true long man, and Cody Eppley or D.J. Mitchell would return to flesh out the bullpen for a while. Manny Banuelos has been awfully good his past two starts, but I’m not sure it’s time to put him into the big league rotation conversation just yet. Especially not with Phelps pitching like this.
Bruised right elbow
Hit by a pitch in the ninth inning, Ibanez was pulled from last night’s game and replaced by Dewayne Wise, who was going to come in and run for him regardless of the injury.
Short-term: The Yankees are facing a left-hander tonight, which means Ibanez almost certainly wasn’t going to be in the lineup anyway. If he has to miss a game or two — which he didn’t think was likely — the Yankees have Wise in place as a left-handed hitting outfielder who could start in left field against righties.
Long-term: Pretty much impossible to imagine this being a long-term situation, unless Ibanez is hurt much, much worse than he let on last night. Seems like a game or two. Max. If it’s more than that … hurry back Brett Gardner.
The Yankees lefty specialist is sick. No real mystery here.
Short-term: If Rapada’s needs to miss a game or two, the Yankees can probably get by with a short bullpen and only one left-hander. This seems to be the most likely scenario: A game or two with Rapada unavailable.
Long-term: Hard to imagine this taking a month, but if it takes a week the Yankees might have a decision to make, especially if they need Phelps or Garcia to make a spot start for Nova. If the bullpen gets thin, the Yankees don’t have anyone on the roster who’s easy to send down like Eppley or Mitchell. Might have to sacrifice Wise if they badly need another reliever at some point.
Associated Press photos