Before each season, my family and friends often ask me how I think our beloved New York Yankees will fare over the grueling 162 game gauntlet and proceeding playoff run, assuming they get there (which they have every year other than 2008 since 1995). I've often felt fairly confident heading into each season, and why wouldn't I? The Yankees have had baseball's top payroll every year since 1996 (excluding 1998) and, for the most part, managed to spend that money wisely. My answer generally consists of the following: "If they can stay healthy, I think they've got a great shot at the World Series". That's a big "if".
Make no mistake, 162 games without any major injuries and a few minor 15-day disabled list stints is nothing short of a miracle. But 2012 has been unique for all the wrong reasons.
Here's what injuries have haunted the Yankees so far this season:
RHP Joba Chamberlain - Currently sitting on the 60-day DL due to a torn MCL and dislocated ankle from playing on a trampoline with his young son. His return date is still TBD.
RHP Michael Pineda - Out for the entire season with a right anterior labral tear. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on May 1 and is expected back to start 2013. This one obviously looms as the most daunting injury considering the Yankees traded famed catching prospect Jesus Montero as well as RHP Hector Noesi (Mr. Bullpen in 2011).
More after the jump...
RHP Mariano Rivera - The undisputed greatest 9th inning pitcher of all-time tore his ACL shagging fly balls during batting practice at Kauffman Stadium. He's out for 2012. According to Yankees.com, he'll have surgery when the swelling around his knee subsides.
LF Brett Gardner - GGBG hit the 15-day DL in late April after aggravating his right elbow and was renewed on the 15-day DL on May 11 after experiencing further pain swinging a bat. He'll hopefully be back sometime in late May or early June so that we don't have to watch Jayson Nix or Raul Ibanez in the outfield anymore.
RHP David Robertson - The most recent victim of the injury bug, Robertson strained his left oblique and was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to his last appearance on May 12. It'd be great to have him back later in May, but we'll see what his timetable looks like as we progress toward the end of the month.
C Austin Romine - In case you haven't heard, Romine was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 12 due to back problems. For those less familiar with the minor league system, Romine is a catching prospect who took the backseat to Montero over the past few years.
Here are a few more injuries that aren't so serious, whether they be players that don't contribute as much or they're simply day-to-day.
DH/OF Raul Ibanez - Day-to-day with a right elbow bruise.
RHP Ivan Nova - Day-to-day with a bruised right foot/ankle. Could potentially miss his next start or moved back a bit if the injury persists.
LHP Pedro Feliciano - Underwent shoulder surgery in September to repair a torn left rotator cuff. Could be back in August, but don't hold your breath.
LHP Clay Rapada - Day-to-day with a viral infection. Seriously, don't be a hero, Rapada. We certainly don't need the rest of the team becoming ill.
RHP David Aardsma - Coming back from Tommy John surgery, he might return in July.
LHP Cesar Cabral - On the 15-day DL with a stress fracture in his left elbow. Honestly, who knows when he'll be back.
Obviously, the main injuries that hurt here are namely Rivera and Pineda because both were being counted on as huge parts of the Yankees this year. But, the Yankees have managed to go 20-16 through the first 36 games of the season and should be able to maneuver their way toward the postseason without them.