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Yankees Injury Woes Continue to Worsen

The New York Yankees injury bug is in full force. Unfortunately, they will begin the 2023 season shorthanded as some players will not be ready in time. The question is just how many personnel will be missing. New York has been dealt a rash of injuries in spring training. A few players are already out for Opening Day. The injury bug has been a big problem for the Yankees in recent seasons. Sometimes the IL stints don’t pile up until later in the year, but now it’s happening early, particularly with the pitching staff. Here’s a look at all the Yankees’ key injuries so far and why this recent trend is so worrisome.

Yankees Injury Concerns

The bad news began last month when the Yankees announced Nestor Cortes would miss time with a hamstring injury. Cortes, who enjoyed a breakout season in 2022 as one of New York’s more reliable starters, was ruled out for the World Baseball Classic. His status for Opening Day initially seemed in doubt. However, Cortes’ prognosis has improved in recent days, and he appears on track to return before the end of March, in time for the regular season.

A few other Yankees have not been so lucky. Back-end starter Frankie Montas was ruled out until at least September with shoulder surgery. The team’s biggest offseason acquisition, lefty starter Carlos Rodon, suffered a forearm strain earlier this week. This will keep him out at least through Opening Day. Outfielder Harrison Bader, one of New York’s top offensive performers last postseason, strained an oblique during a spring at-bat against the St. Louis Cardinals. He will miss roughly six weeks.

These announcements weren’t even the beginning of the Yankees’ injury woes for 2023. While the rotation took some heavy hits in recent days, the bullpen is dealing with problems of its own. Relievers Tommy Kahnle, Scott Effross, and Lou Trivino will all be unavailable on Opening Day as they recover from various injuries. The Kahnle news was especially disappointing. The 33-year-old righty from Upstate New York is set to begin his second stint with the Yankees after enjoying great success his first time around.

Yankees Get Hurt Much Too Often

The Yankees’ recent injury bug continues a trend that has become all too regular. Last year, injuries in the second half largely derailed what could have been a historic season. New York was on pace to approach their franchise record of 114 wins from 1998. That team largely coasted to a World Series title, winning a total of 125 games including postseason play. The 2022 squad had everything clicking before the All-Star break and looked capable of doing something special much like the 1998 team. Unfortunately, injuries to key players such as Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Matt Carpenter, and deadline acquisition Andrew Benintendi led to the team struggling down the stretch. These players all missed extended time, and those who eventually came back were not the same afterward.

Can’t Have A Repeat of 2022

2022 was not the first recent instance of key Yankee contributors missing significant time. Several times in the last decade, promising Yankees teams have been severely hampered by injuries. In some cases, they still overachieved, such as the 2019 team that came within two wins of an AL pennant. But last year’s setbacks made the team a shell of its original self. They were lucky to get through the ALDS and were completely out of gas against a superior Houston Astros team.

The fact that the injuries are happening sooner rather than later this year may be a promising sign. If the team returns to full strength later in the season, they should be well-equipped to contend for a title. Still, it is concerning that a spate of significant injuries is now basically expected with the Yankees every season.

Main photo credits:

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

Players mentioned:

Nestor Cortes, Frankie Montas, Carlos Rodon, Harrison Bader, Tommy Kahnle, Scott Effross, Lou Trivino, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Matt Carpenter, Andrew Benintendi


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