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Yankees injury roundup: May 2021 edition

The list is shorter than it has been in recent years, but let’s check in on the Yankees’ injured list.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The last few years have been pretty brutal for the Yankees when it comes to injuries, as the team set the league record for most players to hit the injured list in 2019, and the 2020 season honestly seemed even worse at times. While the injured list is not quite as long as it had been after a month of action the past two seasons, the Yankees still have multiple key players on the shelf.

With Luke Voit’s activation from the injured list and reports circulating that Gio Urshela will be returning to the lineup tonight after missing the last four games, it appears to be a good time to take stock of the other Yankees on the injured list.

Luis Severino

When the Yankees inked Severino to an extension prior to the 2019 season, they believed that they were locking up their young ace at a very reasonable contract for his arbitration years, as he was coming off back-to-back 5+ fWAR seasons. Since then, unfortunately, injuries have limited him to just 20.1 between September and the playoffs in 2019, as rotator cuff inflammation and a Grade 2 lat strain knocked out most of 2019 and Tommy John surgery on February 27th of last year ended his 2020 before it began.

Over the last few months, we’ve been receiving drips and drops about Severino’s rehab, from throwing off flat ground last October to his first bullpen session back in mid-March. Most recently, manager Aaron Boone mentioned last Thursday that he will be facing live pitching sometime this week, which is a very significant step. After that, his next major step will be minor league rehab outings. He is currently on track for a return sometime in June or July.

Clarke Schmidt

After a cup of coffee as a reliever last September, the highly-touted prospect was shut down with a common extensor strain in his right elbow. Although an MRI revealed no ligament damage, he has consistently suffered setbacks this spring, going so far as receiving a second opinion in mid-April because he was still experiencing pain in his elbow. Shortly thereafter, he received a cortisone shot, Since then, he has felt “fantastic,” and has resumed throwing, although there is no published timetable for his return.

Robinson Chirinos

Signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, Chirinos looked to be the Yankees’ third-string catcher in the event of an injury to Gary Sánchez or Kyle Higashioka. In the end, however, it was Chirinos who ended up on the shelf, requiring surgery to repair a broken wrist suffered after being hit by a pitch in spring training. Although Chirinos never officially ended up on the injured list, he was waived by the team, then re-signed to a minor league contract two days later in what largely amounted to a procedural move.

As part of his recovery, Chirinos worked out at the alternate site, playing in a couple of exhibition games towards the end of the alternate site season. Since then, he has played in three games for Triple-A Scranton, going 3-for-9 with a homer in ten plate appearances. As he is not on the 40-man roster, he will probably remain there unless an injury occurs to either of the Yankees’ two primary catchers.

Zack Britton

Fresh off a January battle with COVID-19, the Yankees’ setup man took a long time to get going during the spring. Before he could get into game action, however, Britton experienced discomfort in his elbow, which an MRI revealed to be the result of bone chips. He underwent surgery mid-March and was placed on the 60-day injured list to start the season.

With a three-to-four month recovery time, Britton is still relatively far from being back on the mound in Yankee Stadium. Nonetheless, his rehab appears to be going smoothly, as he has already returned to the mound and will be pitching in a simulated game as early as this week. At this point, the biggest issue is building his arm strength back up, as he essentially had a truncated spring training.

While there are no indications as of yet as to when the Yankees expect him back beyond a vague hope of June, he is ineligible to return until May 31st, which would be the two-and-a-half month mark.

Darren O’Day

The 38-year-old sidearming righty had apparently been dealing with shoulder discomfort since early April, but it wasn’t until last week’s series against the Detroit Tigers that it reached a point where O’Day needed to go for tests, which revealed a rotator cuff strain. At the moment, there have not been any updates beyond the fact that he will not be throwing for a couple of weeks.

Rougned Odor

Injured in a scary collision with Houston Astros catcher Martín Maldonado, Odor was lucky to have escaped with just a left knee sprain. Although he was placed on the 10-day IL, it does not seem that he will out that long, as he was spotted taking ground balls at Yankee Stadium before Sunday’s game.