Injury updates: Jurrjens, Holland, Bergesen, K-Rod

Leave a comment

Jair Jurrjens headshot.jpg– Jair Jurrjens’ timetable is changing by the minute — and for the
better. He was originally supposed to long-toss again in the next few
days, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he was out there today and could possibly pitch off a mound on Monday. Manager Bobby Cox is expected to release his Grapefruit League rotation on Monday,
so provided he doesn’t suffer a setback with the shoulder, there’s a chance Jurrjens could see
some work in an exhibition game much sooner than originally anticipated. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that it could be as soon as the first or second week of March.

– Derek Holland threw a successful bullpen session on Saturday, his first since spraining his knee during agility drills one week ago. Holland, who wore a protective brace during the session,
“wanted to keep going,” however he’ll probably toss live batting practice on Monday as he inches toward game action.

– Brad Bergesen received rave reviews after tossing his first bullpen session since December due to a strained shoulder. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said Bergesen “didn’t miss a beat,” while catcher Matt Wieters said the 24-year-old right-hander “had his sink back already.” Bergesen is expected to complete two more side sessions before throwing live batting practice.

– Francisco Rodriguez is still being bothered by a contagious pink eye condition. According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, he is expected to visit a doctor on Monday.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

Elsa/Getty Images
11 Comments

Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.