Injuries happen to every team in baseball. Some are serious, some are minor but they hit everybody and it's hard to think that any team is more prone to them than any other.
At least, it's hard to think that until Marcus Thames steps on a bat and sprains his ankle.
That happened during Wednesday night's loss to the Rays -- note to those waking from hibernation, the Rays are really good this season -- and it was followed by the news that Jorge Posada would be heading to the disabled list for a month with a hairline fracture in his foot. Two more bolts of bad injury news for a team that doesn't have much room for more of it.
Alfredo Aceves, Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson are already sidelined. Nick Swisher hasn't played in almost a week because of a biceps problem. Chan Ho Park, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera have already missed time with aches and pains. Boone Logan's left arm has an incurable case of mediocritis.
Alright, we made that last one up, but it's not exactly a picture of health up there in the Bronx these days. The record reflects the toll all of the injuries are taking on the team. They're 14-12 after starting 11-3, thank goodness for good starts, and they've lost seven of their last 11 games. It's nothing to panic over, they're still on pace for 100 victories, but it's a far cry from the team that shot out of the gate like their hindquarters were on fire.
That's both literal and figurative. The lineup looks nothing like the one from the first couple of weeks and the players that are here aren't playing much like the earlier incarnation. The bullpen ERA is a run higher in May, the starters have increased by half a run and that's why the team isn't winning even though their scoring hasn't dipped a bit this month. That would seem to be more troubling than the injuries since the pitching staff has seen fewer losses than the lineup.
Weatherable storm or signs that cracks are starting to show? For now, we'll vote for the former and hold up Derek Jeter as a reason for optimism.
As mentioned, the Yankees are still scoring at a healthy clip and they've done it while Jeter suffers through a truly awful month at the plate. He's swinging at too many pitches out of the zone, hitting a ridiculous number of groundballs and posting a historically low slugging percentage. Assuming he normalizes, the lineup is going to be even better than it has been thus far. It would be nice to stop losing hitters to injuries, but patience is the best option right now.
Save your concern for the bullpen, because it's looking like that's the spot where time and, perhaps, money need to be spent to see the desired results.