June 28th, 2012
Remember at the beginning of spring training when the New York Yankees had more rotation depth than any team in baseball? A lot can change in five months and the Yankees went from having a wealth of rotation depth to the equivalent of one of those houses the two guys from American Pickersvisit on the routine basis — rundown and shattered.
First, the Yankees lost to Sabathia to a left groin strain. Sabathia was placed on the 15-day DL and should return to the Yankees right after the All Star break.
Sabathia, who is 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 15 starts for the Yankees, hurt the groin during the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the New York Mets. You could tell something was wrong with the big lefty during that start because he went from ripping through the Mets’ lineup in the first four innings, to turning into The Ghost of Kenny Rodgers in the fifth and sixth.
Not having Sabathia for two weeks is a blow to the Yankees, but not a crushing blow. Sabathia is a guy who saves the bullpen every time he goes to the mound, so the Yankees’ bullpen might feel it for a bit. Having the All Star break in two weeks will certainly help.
Then yesterday afternoon, Pettitte was struck by a line drive off the bat of Casey Kotchman and fractured his left ankle. Yikes! Pettitte is expected to be out about two months.
Where would the Yankees be without Pettitte? I am sure they would still be pretty darn good, but Pettitte has been like a B-12 shot to New York. His strikeouts per nine (8.6) is the highest since 2004 and his 1.01 WHIP is his lowest since 2005.
Look for Freddy Garcia to take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation. I don’t think the Yankees will make a move for a starting pitcher just yet. I think they will take a wait and see approach with these injuries. If Garcia stinks up the joint and Pettitte’s rehab takes longer than expected, then they will certainly make a move.
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