Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has started just one game since fouling a ball off his shin two weeks ago and manager Joe Girardi revealed today that there’s no timetable for his return because the team now thinks the injury is more serious than initially believed.
Girardi told reporters that Teixeira will be on crutches for at least “a few days” and it’s certainly starting to sound like the Yankees fear he may be sidelined for a significant period of time. Girardi expressed optimism that he’ll play again this season, saying it’s a “deep bone bruise” but no fracture was found.
Teixeira has had a tremendous bounceback season, staying healthy enough to play 109 of the Yankees’ first 117 games while hitting .255 with 31 homers and a .906 OPS. He made his first All-Star team since 2009, which is also the last time he topped a .900 OPS.
Rookie Greg Bird has been the primary first baseman in Teixeira’s absence, hitting .250 with two homers and a .721 OPS through 16 games at age 22. Alex Rodriguez seeing time at first base is another option for Girardi, who could then use Carlos Beltran at designated hitter and free up an outfield spot.
One of the more interesting names among the dozens of September call-ups is former Rookie of the Year and All-Star closer Andrew Bailey, who’s back in the majors with the Yankees for the first time since 2013.
Bailey was a dominant reliever for the A’s from 2009-2011, but was traded to the Red Sox for Josh Reddick and a pair of minor leaguers in December of 2011 and has been repeatedly derailed by injuries since.
He returns to the big leagues at age 31 after throwing 35 innings with a 1.80 ERA and 42/11 K/BB ratio in the minors this season. New York is set in the late innings with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, but Bailey could get a chance to get some key outs in middle relief.
CC Sabathia was shut down earlier this month due to an arthritic condition in his right knee, but he could still have a role in the Yankees’ rotation during the stretch run.
According to Meredith Marakovits of YES Network, Sabathia threw 30 pitches today in his first bullpen session since landing on the disabled list. The veteran southpaw slated to throw another one before facing live hitters. Assuming he makes it back to the Yankees this season, general manager Brian Cashman said that the plan is to use him as a starter as opposed to a reliever.
That’s not necessarily a good thing for the Yankees, who enter play tonight 1 1/2 games back of the Blue Jays for first place in the American League East. Sabathia, 35, has struggled to the tune of a 5.27 ERA over 24 starts this season. He has allowed 26 home runs in 138 1/3 innings.