The big news yesterday was Phil Hughes being shut down because of upper back stiffness, well, he saw a local specialist and according to both George King and Joel Sherman, he was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his back, he will be shut down for five days and will be put on anti-inflammatory medication.
Hughes is no stranger to back injuries – his stiff back cut his ALCS Game Three start short in 2012, he had back issues in 2011 and way back in 2004, he had a bulging disc. Speaking as someone who hurt her back in college, back injuries are annoying, and once you mess up your back, you never go back.
But let’s look at the bright side, shall we? At least this is happening now and not in August or September.
UPDATED: Looks like Hughes will be shut down longer. This is according to GM Brian Cashman who says Hughes is taking a ‘two-week timeout.’
This morning, as I was looking around the internet for things to read in order to write something substantial about the Yankees, I noticed that Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog is feeling the same way I am right now. In his post titled, “We need some games around here,” Mr. Jennings says everything I wanted to say about Spring Training.
Derek Jeter is still in rehab mode. Michael Pineda is throwing a few fastballs every now and then. Alex Rodriguez is nowhere to be found. Joba Chamberlain’s ankle and elbow both seem to be working just fine. Robinson Cano isn’t a free agent yet. Ichiro Suzuki isn’t a new guy anymore, and honestly, neither is Kevin Youkilis at this point. There’s really only so much Joe Girardi can say on a day to day basis that we don’t already know.
I agree with him completely. While it’s great that teams have reported to camp and that guys are working out, we really do need some games to be played. The boredom is setting in because there’s only so much batting practice, fielding practice and bullpen sessions you can write about and try to turn into compelling stories.
Thankfully for all of us, “some games” are starting this weekend. The Yankees’ are playing in their first Spring Training game on Saturday but their first televised game is on Sunday against the Blue Jays and I’m really looking forward to it even though it doesn’t count for much.
I want to see balls and strikes, hits and runs, sunny skies and green grass. I really just want to see live baseball again.
My hope for this weekend is that the players stay healthy, that the guys fighting for the chance to be on the big league club will get to show off their skills – if they, in fact, have any – and that the weather is pleasant so we can live vicariously through them while we freeze our buns off up North.
As I was falling asleep last night, it occurred to me that I hadn’t properly introduced myself to you yet so here it goes. My name is Stacey Gotsulias and I am the new lead writer here at It’s About the Money, Stupid.
My introduction to blogging came 14 years ago before I even had a website. I would send funny emails to my friends in which I would complain about various things like smelly people on the subway, tourists who blocked sidewalks as I was trying to get my lunch or I’d write a collection of quotes and stories I recalled from college. In 2000, yes, it was that long ago, I acquired a Yahoo! Geocities website that I turned into a blog of sorts.
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It’s been six long and tedious major league seasons where we’ve had our hopes built up and our hearts torn out by Phil Hughes. Be it injuries, role changes, velocity declines, or just typical growing pains, Hughes has always found a way to disappoint. After 9 years with the Yankees’ system, the right-hander is still [...]
The Yankees seem to be quietly negotiating with Robinson Cano for a long term contract extension. This is a mistake. I’m not against a Cano extension per se, but I am against a Cano extension, which let’s say will cost something like 8 years / $200 million, before the end of the 2013 season. I [...]
Baseball America released its 100 Top Prospects list and four Yankees make an appearance on the list. None of the names are surprising but their postions in the list might be. None of them are in the Top 30 – the highest prospect appears at #32. The number one prospect on BA’s list is Jurickson Profar, a highly touted SS/2B in the Texas Rangers organization.
The Yankees on the list are:
Last year, the Yankees had four players on the list as well, with Manny Banuelos named the highest ranked Yankee prospect, appearing at #29 on the list. Banuelos is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. Another player not appearing on this year’s list is Dellin Betances who was slotted into #63 on 2012′s list.
Betances was also the victim of a very disappointing 2012. His problems were not injury-related like Banuelos, they were mainly were performance related. He split his time with the Empire State Yankees and Double A Trenton and finished the year with a 6-9 record with a 6.44 ERA.
Sanchez and Williams also appeared on last year’s list at #81 and #85 respectively.
Thanks to a flurry of tweets from the writers down in Tampa, we now know that Phil Hughes hurt his back while fielding a grounder in PFP. The diagnosis, so far, is a stiff upper back and manager Joe Girardi said Hughes was seen by a doctor but wasn’t sure if any tests were taken. He will be out a few days barring any setbacks.
Jorge Posada, who was invited to be a guest instructor at Yankees’ camp this Spring, hasn’t appeared in Tampa yet but he talked some baseball this morning with Jim Memelo and Jeff Nelson of Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio.
Among the topics discussed: Mariano Rivera‘s comeback, Kevin Youkilis as a Yankee, Derek Jeter‘s return from ankle surgery and most importantly, at least in my opinion, the Yankees’ current catching situation.
Posada knows a lot about catching for the New York Yankees so his perspective is certainly more welcomed than someone who never played the position. On the competition itself, Posada said, “Obviously whoever has the best spring is going to start. That probably changes throughout the year. We’ve got three young catchers and we’re going to hopefully look forward to seeing them compete. This is what baseball is all about. You don’t get the job, you earn the job. I think it’s going to be good.”
He also had something to say about Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine – two of the contestants in the Yankees’ version of “So You Want To Be A Starting Catcher”: “Cervelli, very energetic, very athletic, very quick behind the plate. He has a good arm. He’s a lot more mature now so I think it’s perfect timing for him right now. Romine, obviously a little younger, smart kid behind the plate. We like him very much but they don’t want to rush him, so we’ll see. He’s got a shot too. We’ll see what happens in the spring.”
I’m not so sure about the great arm thing in regards to Cervelli unless “great arm” is code for “able to throw the ball into centerfield with ease.” I seem to recall that sort of thing happening a few times with Cervelli behind the plate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not as anti-Francisco Cervelli as some people in the baseball blogosphere or Yankees Twitterverse but he doesn’t exactly make me confident when he’s behind the plate. to his credit, Cervelli opted out of playing in the World Baseball Classic in order to fight for the starting catcher job so he’s taking things very seriously and it will be interesting to see how he does.
As for Romine, the main concern with him, is his health. He’s had back issues and missed the majority of the 2012 season with injuries. If he can remain healthy this Spring – and he was able to stay healthy while playing the Arizona Fall League late last year – he has a good chance of making some waves and giving the Yankees coaching staff something to think about. Another factor with Romine is his age and lack of Major League experience. Cervelli has caught some of the guys in the starting rotation in the past so the edge could be given to him for that reason.
Sometimes a competition brings out the best in players and Posada didn’t even address Chris Stewart who is the third player in this equation. It’ll be interesting to see how the guys respond to the scrutiny they receive this Spring because there will no doubt, be article after article dissecting this starting catching competition and hopefully the attention won’t turn into a negative for any of the players involved.
And may the best man win.
Brace yourselves, folks. I may say something nice about Eduardo Nunez in this post. Derek Jeter has a plate and screws in his ankle. Derek Jeter is turning 39 in June. Derek Jeter is a Major League shortstop. The first two things listed do not bode well for the third. Regardless of what you think [...]