Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Injury bug nips at Mariano, Jorge

I was at last night's game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles and was surprised to see Francisco Cervelli replace Jorge Posada in the 6th inning. But I was on the verge of a full-blown panic attack when Joba Chamberlain came running out of the bullpen in the 9th inning to close the game instead of Mariano Rivera.

After I got past the shock of seeing someone else trying to save a game for the Yankees, my mind was racing with questions. I knew immediately that Mo hadn't pitched since Friday so he should have been well rested. I quickly jumped to the conclusion that he must be injured and unfortunately I was right.

Thankfully, neither injury seems serious, although you can never tell with Joe Girardi. The Yankees offense could survive a few weeks without Posada, even with Curtis Granderson already on the disabled list, if Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez can regain their slugging forms. But depending on Joba to close games if Mo had to take time off to heal would keep me up at night.

These relatively minor injuries highlight once again how dependent the Yankees are on their Core Four -- despite Brian Cashman’s youth movement -- and the absence of workable back-up plan if any of them goes down for an extended period. Expect to not only see Girardi give Posada and Mo all the time they need to heal, but to find opportunities to rest Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte to keep them as healthy as possible. Exhibit A: Jeter will be the designated hitter tonight.

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