After suffering a bitter sweep in the American League Championship Series to the Detroit Tigers in 2012, even the most loyal New York Yankees fans began to have an inkling of worry and wonder if age was no longer just “a number.”
Although the Yankees possess the oldest average age roster in the league, they also employ some of the most talented players the game has ever seen. With that being said, even a team with the most wherewithal is useless when they are watching games from the dugout with injuries. The offseason was far from friendly as the New York Yankees didn’t just catch an injury bug, but rather an injury influenza!
– This veteran centerfielder experienced a strong resurgence over the last two years. After consecutive 40-plus home run seasons combined with double-digit stolen bases, Granderson seemed to finally feel at home in New York and has returned to fantasy stardom. Unfortunately, his luck was far from “grand” when J.A. Happ pegged him in his very first spring at-bat, breaking his forearm. Granderson’s rehabilitation has been reported to be going smoothly and a return to the starting lineup in early to mid-May is probable. If fully recovered, 30 home runs may still be a realistic expectation for loyal fantasy owners.
– After experiencing discomfort during the preseason, Teixeira’s outlook nosedived when he was diagnosed with an injury to the right forearm sheath, which requires an 8-10-week recovery. After a few rumors of potential season-ending surgery loomed, fantasy owners breathed a sigh of relief to learn Teixeira should be ready to play in late May to early June. Although the 33-year-old first baseman’s numbers have been declining over recent years, he may still produce while hitting in the middle of the order.
– After turning back the clock in 2012 with 15 home runs, a .316 average and a complete rebound from 2011, Jeter broke his left ankle in the American League Championship Series. Following a successful surgery in October, he seemed to be healing on schedule and even began baseball activity in January. Unfortunately, after several preseason appearances, it became obvious that Jeter’s ankle was not completely healed. A post-All Star Break return seems probable, which is truly disappointing for fantasy owners and Yankee fans alike.
– It was only a few years ago that Rodriguez was associated with chasing home run records, winning MVP awards, and leading the Yankees to the World Series. Today, his name seems to only appear in headlines relating to performance enhancing drugs and injuries. Although he reported his recovery from left hip surgery as “going well” to mlb.com earlier this month, Rodriguez’s return is still far away from and not expected until after the All-Star Break. In deep leagues, he is still worth holding onto even for half a season. Fifteen homeruns and 10 stolen bases would be a solid 2013 campaign for Rodriguez this season.
Despite injuries to three key sluggers and their captain, the New York Yankees have persevered and proved the most pessimistic critics wrong with a 15-9 record entering the game on April 29, only 2.5 games behind Boston for the division lead. Key additions, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, are both hitting better than .300 with 12 home runs combined. Robinson Cano is on pace for another “Robinson Cano-like” season. Defensively, veterans Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera and C.C. Sabathia are pulling their weight on the hill.
The New York Yankees are certainly surprising fans and fantasy owners with their depth and consistency thus far. The American League East better take notice as they may become dangerous and a serious contender if their stars return to health after the All-Star break.