It used to be that you could attribute all of the injuries to Yankees’ players as just being old and in the twilight of their careers.
On Sunday Night Baseball, it was revealed that the Yankees probably just have bad luck. No, they haven’t been bitten as hard by the injury bug this time around, but on this night, they already started the game down two regular players. Mark Teixeira is on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, Brian Roberts was getting an MRI for a back problem, and Derek Jeter was resting for his second straight day with a strained quad. Francisco Cervelli was tabbed to start at first base, Kelly Johnson got a turn at third, red-hot Yangervis Solarte was at second base, while Jeter’s backup, Dean Anna, started at shortstop.
Things got interesting, position-wise, in the fourth inning. On a double-play grounder, Cervelli ran hard and was initially called out at first. While Joe Girardi came out to challenge the call, resulting in its eventual overturning and a game-winning RBI, Cervelli sat by first in pain. He limped off the field with what was diagnosed as a hamstring strain. Ichiro ran for him, but the question of “Who’s on first?” became more than just a comedy skit. With Teixeira out, Johnson at third base, and Girardi wanting to use Jeter only in emergencies, the Yankees’ solution came right out of right field. Carlos Beltran made his major league debut as a first baseman in a pinch. Ichiro took over for him in the outfield.
The problems didn’t stop there. Yangervis Solarte, who has been nothing if not a catalyst and spot of youth and hope for the Bronx, jammed his knee running to first, giving the Yankees even more of a scare. Solarte showed mettle and toughness, though and stayed in the game for the remaining two innings. Brian McCann was behind the plate when a David Phelps pitch came in close to Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. As A.J. turned into the pitch, it struck off of his protective elbow guard and ricocheted – right into McCann’s exposed hand. McCann looked shaken up, but with no other catching options available off of the bench, he stayed in.
Luckily for New York, they had done their offensive damage early in the game, thanks to Carlos Beltran’s two run homer in the third. Boston managed to get nine hits off of the Yankees’ pitching staff, but could only muster two runs.
How the Yankees proceed from here is a mystery, but they were able to stay away from using Jeter, and McCann is telling everyone he’s okay. One thing’s clear: New York can ill-afford another injury and has to find some depth, just in case.