(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)
Injuries suck. There’s no other way to say it. And the reminders that they’re “part of the game” and “every team is dealing with them” don’t make them suck any less when they happen to your team. The Yankees have already dealt with their fair share of injury woes in 2012, and yesterday’s double-whammy of injury-related suckiness was even more woeful considering it knocked out the Yankees’ 2 best starting pitchers for at least the next 2-3 weeks and certainly much longer than that for 1 of them. There’s no way for this situation to suck any less than it already does, but there are a few silver linings and maybe even a positive or 2 to be taken from this situation if I can spin things right.
For starters, there’s the fact that the injuries suffered by both CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are not elbow or shoulder-related. They’re not even arm-related, which is always a plus for a pitcher. The Yankees are known for downplaying the severity of injuries, but the fact that multiple people from the organization said that CC could have pitched through his injury if he absolutely had to is enough to make me feel confident that this 15-day stint will end with him back at full strength. There’s enough space being taken up on the DL by guys recovering from TJS or some kind of shoulder surgery, so to know that neither CC nor Andy are going to have to go under the knife to repair damaged arm ligaments or muscles is a bit of relief.
And on the topic of relief, these non-season ending injuries will provide some of that to the arms and bodies of these 2, and it’s not like either guy couldn’t use a little rest. CC is always praised for the workhorse that he is, and his durability is one of his greatest strengths as a pitcher. But he has thrown a ton of innings over the past 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years. He’s thrown more innings than anybody in the recent past and now that he’s moving into his 30s, a little 2-3-week vacation could be just what he needs to hit the “reset” button, regain some strength (and hopefully some 4-seamer velocity), and get his body back to homeostasis.
And don’t try to tell me that Andy’s 40-year-old body isn’t going to be better off without 2 months of wear and tear on it. He was being held together by the proverbial chewing gum and paperclips in the ’09 and 2010 postseasons; that shouldn’t be the case this year when he does finally come back. 2 months is probably more time off than he wants or really needs, but I’ll take a 100% healthy Andy Pettitte whenever I can get it, and I think the Yankees will too.
There’s also the window of opportunity that gets opened for Adam Warren now that Sabathia and Pettitte both have to go on the DL. Warren was already going to get the call up as Freddy Garcia‘s replacement in the bullpen, a decision that didn’t make a lot of sense to me given that Warren was already fully stretched out as a starter and on the same pitching schedule as CC, and Freddy had thrown just 9 total innings in the past 6 weeks. Now Warren gets the start on Friday and Freddy gets pushed back to Andy’ spot on Monday after throwing 2.1 innings of relief yesterday, and the Yankees aren’t once again messing with another one of their top pitching prospects’ development path by converting him to a long reliever. The circumstances that led to it are far from ideal, but I’d much rather see what the Adams Warren and Davids Phelps of the world can do as starting pitchers than garbage-time relievers.
As far as timing goes, there’s never really a “good” time for injuries, but the timing in this case can be looked at as a positive. They happened right around the All Star break, which means fewer missed starts for CC and fewer games that the rest of the rotation has to man up without him, and they happened during a period where the Yankees were playing great baseball and created a 5-game cushion for themselves at the top of the division. There’s no need to hit the panic button on either injury because of where the team is right now, and the injuries happened early enough that both CC and Andy should be back in time for the August-September stretch run.
This whole post is essentially me trying to polish a turd, but what else can I do? What else can any of us do? What’s done is done and the season must go on. Neither CC nor Andy appear as if they are going to miss the remainder of the season, the remaining 60% of the rotation is pitching well right now, and the offense is starting to come around. It sucks that they’re going to miss time, but it could certainly suck a lot worse (just ask Michael Pineda). CC and Andy will be back and the Yankees will get by.
But seriously. Eff you, Casey Kotchman.