Welcome to the 2020 season, just like the 2019 season. So for this spring, the Yankees have been on track for the second injury-riddled season in a row. While you’re surely tired of hearing about this, let’s check in on our injured players and see where they are.
After having Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL on October 30, the Yankees’ center fielder expects to make his season debut sometime in June or July. That would line up with the timeline that Didi Gregorius followed last season, who made his return on June 7 after having surgery on October 17, 2018. As of now, he’s been engaging in rehab, and hopes to resume throwing in the next few weeks.
Initial reports indicated that the Yankees starter, who had underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy and had a peridiscal cyst removed on February 5, would be expected to return to the big-league mound three to four months later. Paxton remains on that timeline after throwing 25 times at 60 feet yesterday, his first time throwing since December. He “felt good,” according to reports, and has been targeting mid-May to pitch in an MLB game.
On February 25, the Yankees announced that Luis Severino would be receiving Tommy John surgery, ending his season before it began. The surgery went “as expected.” See you in 2021, kid.
Also on February 25, the Yankees corner outfielder/designated hitter strained his calf during defensive drills. Although he does not expect to be ready for Opening Day, Stanton has been steadily progressing, running on an anti-gravity treadmill this past Saturday and hitting in the batting cages on Sunday. Yesterday, he took live batting practice off of Zack Britton, taking the left-hander deep before he himself joined Stanton on the list.
Last September, Judge felt a crack and a pop in his chest after diving for a fly ball. He played through the pain down the stretch and in the postseason, then continued to train through it all winter, stopping only at the beginning of spring training due to a barking shoulder and a sore pec. After a battery of tests, the Yankees concluded last Friday that their star right fielder had a cracked rib that they would evaluate after two more weeks of rest; the typical rehabilitation time is three-to-six months. As of now, his return is unknown, and although Judge looks to avoid surgery, it’s not off the table just yet.
Heller did not make his Grapefruit League debut until Tuesday due to a sore back. His debut was rough, giving up a walk and a two-run home run.
Bettis, formerly a pitcher with the Colorado Rockies, was signed last month to provide veteran rotation depth in light of injury concerns with Paxton (Severino had not yet been injured). He has, however, joined them in the injury room with a sore back, and although he has resumed throwing, it is unclear when he will get into games. Chances are, this cost him a shot at the Opening Day roster.
It was bad enough when the Yankees’ catcher was dealing with a sore back that kept him sidelined for a few days. Things only got worse on Tuesday, however, when he reported to the camp on Tuesday with a fever. In a statement that I cannot believe I’m writing, fortunately, he tested positive for the flu.
Minutes after giving up a home run to Giancarlo Stanton in live batting practice to the delight of Yankees fans, Britton found himself on this list after getting drilled in the wrist by an Erik Kratz line drive. X-rays and CT scans revealed only bruising, a break for the Yankees. Even assuming that this diagnosis is wrong, since it was to his non-pitching hand, it’s something that could be played through: Andrew Miller did in 2016, and not only did he go to the All-Star Game, he received Cy Young votes that year.
No matter what happens, however, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, “Why was the screen behind Britton?” This can be seen in this video: