In my eyes, the 2013 season for the Yankees will be the "Cano and Gardner Season". As injuries beset the team even before the outset of the season, those two were the constant. They were the only two that it seemed could be counted on to be in the lineup day in and day out without being pretty much useless offensively. Credit to Chris Stewart, Ichiro Suzuki, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells for making it through over 100 games played, considering the massive hex placed on the Yankees for 2013 and their general oldness, though you wouldn't really have been missed that much. But Gardner and Cano anchored the offense as all manner of flotsam and jetsam was penciled into the lineup by Joe Girardi, but that all changed Friday night. Gardner now joins the Injury List of the Damned, his oblique becoming as strained as his team's playoff hopes. And yes, that metaphor was equally strained.
Gardner's 2013 was an exceptional one, rebounding from an elbow injury that torpedoed his 2012 campaign. With the various injuries to Curtis Granderson, Gardner was finally permanently installed in center field. He contributed his typically excellent defense and baserunning, but it was on offense he was most needed. His wRC+ of 107 is at least 17 points higher than any player not named Cano that played in at least half of the Yankees' games. Except for the occasional game Girardi lost his marbles and sat him against lefties, Gardner was always there at the top of the lineup. So seeing Curtis Granderson slotted into that spot before Saturday's game felt like the latest of many swift kicks to the guts that we have suffered. Perhaps this is the final insult from that shaman that cursed this team, presumably as revenge for something stupid Hank Steinbrenner said.
It really is almost comical at this point. When the eulogy is written for the Yankees' 2013 season, it is a certainty that most of the blame will be placed on injuries, and it will be assumed those injuries were due to age. But as Gardner's injury has shown, it has not just been the eldest Yankees. Young ones, old ones, fat ones, skinny ones, ones who climb on rocks. Every manner of Yankee has been injured, for every manner of injury. Luck is just a part of the game, and luck has not been this team's friend when it comes to overall health
Now America turns its lonely eyes to you, Robinson Cano. Or just us Yankees fans. So tantalizingly close to the finish line of another phenomenal season. Even when you were hit in the hand yourself, you proved too awesome to miss even more than a game. Do not walk under any ladders, avoid the use of any and all mirrors, and please, please just make it through the rest of this season unscathed. Our fleeting playoff hopes cannot afford an injury to you. You're the only one left standing.