Standing in a room next to the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park on Thursday, Brian Cashman spoke for nearly a half hour about the disappointment of his offense and the expectations going forward. Among those expectations were routine checkups for several players.
“We got a whole list of guys (to have checked this winter),” Cashman said. “Jeter’s surgery, check on Joba’s ankle to make sure he has no complaints. Routine stuff, and one of the routine things is we have to look at (CC Sabathia’s) elbow one more time.”
So it’s no surprise that Sabathia is heading to Dr. Andrews for another examine, and it’s no surprise that the Yankees expect there to be something minor going on. If it’s only a bone spur, that’s good news.
Ten more that should be on the Yankees list of players to check on this winter?
Joba Chamberlain’s ankle
He looked pretty good by the end of the season, but obviously Chamberlain’s been through a lot with the Tommy John and the dislocated ankle. Assuming Rafael Soriano opts out, Chamberlain’s role is likely to increase next season. The Yankees have to make sure he’s up for it.
Mark Teixeira’s calf
Tough year for Teixeira’s health. He had the cough that wouldn’t end, then the wrist injury, then the calf that blew out twice. He seemed to get the cough figured out weeks later than expected, and the wrist didn’t seem to bother him late, but the calf remained a bit of a concern at the end of the year. Time will probably heal it, and the Yankees need him healthy.
Derek Jeter’s ankle
Surgery yesterday, now the Yankees wait. Given the four-to-five-month timetable, the Yankees have to keep a close eye on that injury to make sure Jeter starts working out as soon as possible. Opening Day could be cutting it pretty close.
Alex Rodriguez’s hand
He said it was a non-issue at the end of the season, but Rodriguez’s numbers weren’t the same when he came back from the broken hand. Of course, given his history of lower-body problems, it’s probably worth checking a lot of Rodriguez for minor problems that might help account for his declining production.
Brett Gardner’s elbow
Obviously it was good enough for him to be a full player at the end of the postseason, but that elbow went out too many times this year for the Yankees to be perfectly comfortable. Surgery should have taken care of the problem, but I have to think Gardner’s elbow is on the list of things to be examined.
Hiroki Kuroda’s arm
He’s heading for free agency, but Kuroda was so good in his first year with the Yankees, that the team has to look into bringing him back, especially if he’ll take another one year deal. Of course, given his age and the fact he just reached a single-season, career-high in innings, it would be worth checking that arm before signing a deal.
Mariano Rivera’s ACL
This one is obvious isn’t it? The game’s greatest closer turns 43 this winter, and he’s indicated that he’d like to play next year. Get the knee sorted out, get him back on a mound, and get him ready for spring training.
Ivan Nova’s shoulder
He didn’t miss a ton of time with it, but Nova did have a mild shoulder problem this year. And with pitchers, it’s hard to consider any shoulder problem mild. Nova insisted he was healthy at the end of the year, but his second-half numbers were pretty bad and the Yankees won’t want to lose a young starter like that.
Michael Pineda’s shoulder
This name is going to come up a lot this winter. What can the Yankees expect from him? What’s his role going to be? Those answers are going to depend on that shoulder, and whether he gains enough strength to throw with the same hard fastball and biting slider that the Yankees expected when they made the trade.
Austin Romine’s back
He’s playing in the Arizona Fall League, so that’s a pretty good sign that the Yankees think Romine’s back has healed. But back problems can linger, and Romine’s certainly did most of this season. He could play a big league role next year, but he’s got to be healthy to do it.
Associated Press photos