The Yankees have plenty of injured players that could come back and be just like a trade acquisition. Each is at a different stage in their rehab, so it's important to keep track of who is doing what and when they're due back. Help is on the way and once every player is back the team will be much better off, but can they come back before it's too late?
Eduardo Nunez had his second rehab game yesterday. He went 0–2 in his first game with High-A Tampa, but singled, walked, and stole a base yesterday. He should be eligible to come off the disabled list some time next week, making him the closest to returning. Despite his struggles this year (.200/.290/.275 in 95 PA) he would represent an upgrade over Alberto Gonzalez and his .205/.238/.308 across 41 plate appearances and two teams.
Francisco Cervelli did base running drills and also caught two innings in a simulated game. Cervelli hit .269/.377/.500 over 61 plate appearances before breaking his hand. Due back by mid-July, he would be an upgrade over Austin Romine, who has hit .150/.164/.200 in 63 plate appearances.
Curtis Granderson's hand has healed and he has played catch, but has yet to swing a bat. He is projected to be back sometime in the first half of July and would undoubtably be an improvement over Vernon Wells' .223/.264/.369 and Ichiro Suzuki's .277/.314/.379. They could either option Zoilo Almonte down and keep Wells on the bench or do something drastic and release Wells and keep Zoilo on the bench.
Michael Pineda will make his latest rehab start today with the Trenton Thunder. This could be Pineda's final rehab start before the organization makes a decision on what to do with him. Brian Cashman has previously said that, depending on their needs and how he does, he could either be called up or optioned to Triple-A where they could delay his service clock to get a fourth year of team control out of him. Figuring out who he would replace is not an easy task, but it would realistically come down to Phil Hughes or David Phelps.
Alex Rodriguez took five simulated at-bats yesterday, hitting two doubles and a single while running the bases and sliding after putting the ball in play. A-Rod also fielded ground balls and hit two batting practice home runs. He is due back after the All-Star break, most likely before Jeter. Even with all the drama over him and despite being old and having a bum hip, the Yankees still need him if they want to compete A-Rod managed a .272/.353/.430 line in 2012, meanwhile, David Adams is only hitting .179/.220/.274. Basically, anything he can offer would be better than what they have at this point.
Derek Jeter took six simulated at-bats yesterday and hit a single in his second day of seeing live pitching. It is unsure when he'll be able to get into games, but he is due back after the All-Star break. Despite being 39 years old, there's little doubt that he couldn't contribute offensively after hitting .316/.362/.429 in 2012. Taking the field is another thing because if Jeter is unable to field his position on an every day basis or at all, Jayson Nix and his .241/.306/.305 batting line is still going to get a lot of playing time.
Kevin Youkilis had back surgery and will be out at least until late-August/early-September, but it is highly probable that he is done for the year. Even after A-Rod returns the Yankees will still need a backup third baseman to give him days off. That could mean that Adams gets to stay or Nix finally becomes a utility player again.
Mark Teixeira will have season ending surgery on Monday at NYU. The Yankees will need to upgrade at first base if they want to compete, considering Lyle Overbay has hit .236/.278/.433 this season and is incapable of hitting lefties. The Yankees could stay internal and use David Adams or Corban Joseph there.
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