The injury big has struck again for the first time this season. The Yankees have announced that Brendan Ryan will miss time thanks to a back strain he recently suffered in the opening days of spring training:
Brendan Ryan saw Dr. Daniel Murphy in Tampa, Fla. on Thursday and underwent a precautionary MRI which revealed a mid-back strain (cont'd)— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) February 27, 2015
(cont'd) The injury occurred while lifting weights in days leading up to start of ST, is expected to miss approx 5 days of on-field activity— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) February 27, 2015
If anyone feels like this is sounding familiar, it's because this is exactly what happened last year too. Every team suffers injuries during spring training, but in 2014, the biggest loss the Yankees suffered was that Brendan Ryan wouldn't be ready for Opening Day that year. This directly led to Dean Anna getting the call to start the season on the active roster and making his major league debut with the team. The backup infielder stayed with the team for most of the first month of the season before Ryan was healthy enough to return.
This year's injury doesn't sound nearly as serious and it is much earlier this time around, but you never really know. Brendan Ryan's place on the team was already in question with Derek Jeter now gone and Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew both capable of playing shortstop. Those likely to benefit from the injury include Jose Pirela, who is already on the 40-man roster, second base prospect Rob Refsnyder, and the group of non-roster invitees that include Nick Noonan, Cole Figueroa, and Jonathan Galvez. For all we know Ryan will be ready to go for Opening Day, but if this ends up being more serious than originally expected, Pirela's roster status will make him the easy favorite to win a place on the team.