As was expected after his early exit from Tuesday night's game against the Orioles, Alex Rodriguez has landed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. The Yankee DH avoided the DL in his return to baseball last year, but he pulled up running to first base in the series opener in Baltimore and will need to sit out for at least two weeks.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Rodriguez was one of the few players in the lineup who was actually hitting. Removing him from the roster temporarily just diminishes a lineup that was already painfully inept at scoring runs. It would be reasonable to believe that the Yankees would realize this and call up a hitter to try and mitigate the loss of Rodriguez's bat, but apparently the joke is on us.
The Yankees called up left-handed reliever James Pazos to replace Rodriguez instead. Sure, this could be a temporary move, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. The biggest issue on the team right now is certainly not the bullpen. Why willingly force Dustin Ackley or Aaron Hicks into the lineup when one has barely played and one has struggled offensively?
I'd understand the move more if the bullpen was struggling, a reliever got hurt, or the team burned through a large chunk of their bullpen the night before. None of those things are true. So why Pazos? It doesn't make a lot of sense.
Bringing Nick Swisher back to the Bronx was an option, and he has definitely hit well enough at Triple-A to warrant a look at what he has left. Maybe it's nothing, but it can't hurt to see when the team has lost one of the biggest offensive contributors for at least 15 days. It really doesn't make sense that you would replace lost offense with a reliever at a time when the team just cannot find ways to score.
There is the question, of course, of what would happen to Swisher when Rodriguez returns to the lineup. However, that is probably a question for a different day when the offense is performing as it currently is. Maybe someone else gets hurt, maybe the decision is to deal with Hicks or Ackley and leave Swisher on the roster. Maybe Swisher is so bad at the MLB level that keeping him around proves to be foolish. Whatever it is, it shouldn't have mattered for today.
Rodriguez heading to the DL does allow Joe Girardi to DH Carlos Beltran instead of forcing him to run around the outfield in a helpless manner. Unfortunately, rearranging the pieces as presently constructed is a bit like moving deck chairs on the Titanic. A month into the season no longer constitutes as particularly early, and continuing to dig a deep hole for themselves just makes it even harder to climb out later.
Most of the time, even with moves I don't agree with make sense on paper, I can rationalize them and accept that whatever was done was probably for the benefit of the team. I can't find that rationalization this time, and it just makes an already frustrating season feel slightly more frustrating.