The Yankees have already lost Alex Rodriguez (hip) and Curtis Granderson (forearm) for significant chunks of the 2013 season, and they’ve also got a 38-year-old Derek Jeter coming back from major ankle surgery. Now, it appears that they might have lost another significant cog in their lineup in first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Teixeira heard a “pop” in his right wrist when hitting off a tee Tuesday prior to Team USA's exhibition contest against the White Sox. The Yankees’ initial diagnosis was a strained wrist after an MRI came back clean, but Tex has been sent back to New York for more tests and will be shut down for at least two weeks. General manager Brian Cashman offered that he is “very concerned” about his first baseman.
The Yankees’ depth is already being tested, and losing Teixeira for a considerable amount of time would test it further. Right now, the best in-house options to fill a potential Teixeira void at first would be Dan Johnson and Juan Rivera, though Rivera is already slated to see plenty of time in left field following the Granderson injury. The Bombers could also use Eduardo Nunez some at third base and shift Kevin Youkilis to first. Ultimately, though, they would figure to seek help outside the organization if Teixeira is down for a while.
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Ross, Ramirez Also Shut Down
In other injury news, Cody Ross (calf) and Aramis Ramirez (knee) will also be held out of action for a while. Ross is dealing with a strained left calf and will be held out of running drills for at least two weeks, while Ramirez has a sprained left knee and won’t do anything for at least a week, and possibly two weeks.
Ross thinks he’ll have “plenty of time” to get ready for Opening Day, but Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson isn’t making any promises.
"I don't know," Gibson told MLB.com when asked if Ross will be ready on April 1. "In two weeks, we'll see where he's at."
The D’Backs are pretty well covered with Gerardo Parra if Ross’ recovery drags on, so they can afford to play it safe with their offseason addition. The Brewers are already down Corey Hart and Mat Gamel, so they can ill afford a slow A-Ram recovery.
Tigers Looking To Shore Up Ninth Inning
We touched on the Tigers’ ninth inning situation Tuesday, but it’s worth revisiting again after CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler reported that the team is "pushing hard" to trade for a closer.
Manager Jim Leyland has shot down rumors that they may consider re-signing Jose Valverde, and reports that the Tigers could be targeting Carlos Marmol have also been debunked. It’s clear, though, that Detroit is worried about their closer situation, to the point that Leyland even suggested that giving Rick Porcello the job was not "necessarily a wild thought."
More likely, though, we will see the Tigers trade Porcello (or someone else) for a closer. However, Knobler notes that Detroit has yet to ask the Red Sox about Andrew Bailey, and the Nationals do not intend to move Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard. Their interest in free agent Francisco Rodriguez appears to be lukewarm. Brian Wilson (elbow) is also out there, but he probably wouldn’t be a realistic option for the ninth inning until around midseason.
If the Tigers don’t make a move for a closer before Opening Day, a committee approach is likely. They could rely on Rondon or someone else emerging or hold off until the trade deadline to address the issue.
Phelps Off To A Good Start
The Yankees got bad news with Mark Teixeira Tuesday, but one of their fifth starter candidates continued his strong start to the Grapefruit League season.
David Phelps held the Braves to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out four over four innings in a 2-0 loss to the Braves. The young right-hander has now allowed just the one run over nine spring frames and also sports a 1.00 WHIP. Phelps’ competition for the No. 5 spot, Ivan Nova, has appeared in just one game so far this spring, tossing two scoreless frames.
Both right-handers could wind up in the Yankees’ rotation if Phil Hughes’ back injury drags into the regular season, but for now it should be a good battle for the fifth spot. Phelps posted a 3.34 ERA and 1.19 WHIP while striking out nearly a batter per inning last season, while Nova struggled badly in the second half but showed big strides on the year with his peripheral numbers. The winner of the battle could have some sneaky fantasy value.
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