Well, so much for the return of Don Mattingly to the Bronx.
Much of the hype earlier today was focused on a Yankee legend coming home in a different uniform, but a flurry of moves and announcements from the Yankees has deflected the attention back to a story that we’ve gone over many times already this season – the continuing trend of Yankee stars dropping like flies.
“It’s not how you draw it up,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “No doubt about that.”
The first major announcement when I got to the ballpark today was that Mark Teixeira is heading back to the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in the right wrist that caused him to miss the first two months of the season.
“We think it’s at least going to be a week, so our thought process is, ‘Let’s just make sure that we’re not short-handed for a week,’ ” manager Joe Girardi said. “If he’s healthy after a week, he can get a few at-bats in rehab, and then we’ll have him back.”
While the Yankees sound optimistic that this won’t be another extended absence for Tex, Cashman emerged shortly after to inform that media that Kevin Youkilis is in even worse shape. They have discovered a herniated disc in his balky back, which will require surgery. Youk will go under the knife on Thursday, and is expected to miss at least 10-12 weeks.
“Kevin is a heckuva player, and he hasn’t had the chance to show that because of the back,” Cashman said.
• With Tex being officially placed on the DL, Zoilo Almonte has been called up to take his place on the 25-man roster. “He’s a switch-hitter and an outfielder,” Girardi said. “We can give him a start here; we can use him as a pinch-hitter off the bench. There are some different things that he can do.”
• Girardi was pressed about whether Teixeira returned too quickly from his original injury, but he sounded convinced that his first baseman was healthy when he first rejoined the club. (As we found out yesterday, Kevin Long wasn’t quite as confident.) “He was healthy when he came back,” Girardi said. “It could have been just the swings, the games that got to him a little bit. It was inflammation, so inflammation is going to cause some sort of a weakness as time goes on. The more inflamed it goes, the harder it’s going to be. But when he came back, he didn’t have that.”
• Girardi also reiterated that he expects Tex back soon after his 15-day DL stint is over. “I do,” he said. “There’s not really hesitation in my mind that makes me think he won’t be back when the 15 days is up.”
• As for Youkilis, Cashman said that he’ll have a chance to get back to the Yankees sometime late in the season. With the surgery set for Thursday, the 10-12 week timetable could put him back on the field in early September, but he’ll obviously need to play some minor league rehab games before getting back to the big leagues. And Cashman also stressed that 10-12 is the minimum recovery time, so this certainly jeopardizes Youkilis’ season.
• For the time being, Cashman mentioned David Adams as the replacement for Youk, but he also said that he expects Alex Rodriguez to contribute at some point. A-Rod stepped into the batter’s box down in Tampa today, but didn’t actually take any cuts. “He just tracked pitches today,” Girardi said. “I’m sure each day he’ll do a little bit more.”
• In the final roster move of the day (or so we think), the Yankees brought Adam Warren back up and designated Chris Bootcheck for assignment
• Oh, by the way. The tarp is on the field and it’s pouring an hour and a half before first pitch. So there’s that.
Photos from Associated Press