First of all, the injury to Sabathia at least doesn’t sound that serious. He apparently suffered the injury during his last start Sunday night, but wasn’t forced to come out of the game by it, and he pitched a full bullpen session on Tuesday before telling the coaches and trainers about the issue. It was said yesterday that Sabathia didn’t even want to go on the disabled list at all, but Brian Cashman didn’t give him a choice. Meanwhile Joe Girardi said that the plan is for Sabathia to miss just two starts and come back after the All-Star break. So, while it’s most definitely unnerving to see Sabathia going on the disabled list for the first time in his tenure with the Yankees, it sounds as though that move is a precautionary one as much as anything else, and if all goes according to plan it won’t affect the team in more than a fairly small number of games.
Of course, Pettitte’s injury, which is likely to keep him out for at least 6-8 weeks, is quite another matter. But one way to look at it, at least if Sabathia’s time out is kept to a minimum and the rest of the team’s starters continue to pitch well, is that the Yankees just need to find another fifth starter for a couple of months to keep the spot warm for Andy. And with Freddy Garcia, Adam Warren, and David Phelps all in the mix within the organization and a very good bullpen and offense to support them, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll be able to slog through the time Pettitte has to miss.
The most obvious thing the Yankees have going for them right now, though, is positioning. Thanks to their incredible run of late, the Yankees currently have a five game advantage in the loss column over the second place Orioles, and a seven game advantage over both the Red Sox and Rays, so if nothing else they do have plenty of room to fight a war of attrition in the A.L. East over the next month if they have to. And they’ve done this despite both the team’s mediocre performance through the first six weeks of the season and the heavy amount of injuries they’ve already had to overcome. So, yes, yesterday was a horrible, rotten, awful, no-good, very bad day, but it also wasn’t any sort of death knell for the Yankees’ season, and I dare say that, even now, the team is in a better position relative to the rest of the A.L. East than they were in at this time last season.