You Can’t Make This Up-UPDATED

Considering the way the season has gone injury-wise, I probably should have expected it, but I can’t believe that Robinson Cano had to leave the game because he was hit by a Matt Harvey fastball. Harvey’s pitch drilled Cano right around the knee. After limping to first, Cano came out after one batter.

I’m sure we will get some idea what the injury is shortly and I will update the post as that happens. <SIGH>

UPDATE 7:52AM X-rays were negative and Cano hopes to play in Boston this weekend. In other words, they will wait and see how he responds to treatment.

Is This Smart?

According to multiple sources, Derek Jeter will be back in the Bronx today. He will play either shortstop or DH.

He is coming back after playing only four games and this description from last night’s game makes me wonder just how ready he is for MLB action. In that story he is described as being “off target” with all three of his throws to first. Another report I saw speculated that his lack of ankle strength contributed to his poor throws.

The Yankees need Jeter back, but as we learned last year, Jeter is going to try and play through anything. He is as tough as nails, but he also broke his ankle because of his toughness. The original plan for Jeter’s rehab had him playing in back-to-back games at Scranton before coming back to the Bronx. That has apparently gone out the window and now Jeter will play in a game this afternoon after playing last night.

I don’t know why the Yankees ditched their original plan, but I hope this isn’t a case of Jeter getting what he wants. The Yankees have to protect Jeter’s body from Jeter’s competitiveness. The Yankees simply can’t afford to have him re-injure himself by pushing too hard.

In Search of an Ace

With Jon Lester’s latest clunker, I think it is time to stop considering him the staff ace. In fact, he might be the worst starter on the Red Sox right now.

Buchholz, Lackey, Dempster and Doubront all have better ERA’s than Lester and despite a great April, Lester has been bad the last 2 seasons.

With a team option for 2014, the Red Sox have a decision to make on Lester. They can keep him this year and next, they can keep him for this year and let him walk, they can keep him this year and trade him in the off-season or they can deal him this year. Because of his early career success, I think Lester has some decent trade value but if he finishes up this season the way he is pitching now, he won’t.

As for who would fill in for Lester should be be moved, well, Allan Webster isn’t lighting the world on fire but a combination of Alfredo Aceves and Franklin Morales might be just as good as Lester.

Falling back on old timey visual evidence, Lester seems relatively indifferent about his pitching performances. After Monday night’s disaster he told the media he felt he pitched much better than the results suggested. If 9 hits, 2 walks and 5 earned runs in 5 innings has enough wiggle room to be considered a better outing than it appears well, ok then.

Me? I trade Lester and get as much as I can for him. He seems to have almost completely morphed himself into Josh Beckett, only with better health. I know the Red Sox are in the thick of it and are on target to make the playoffs (albeit with a ton of baseball left) but Lester isn’t who he once was and the sooner Boston recognizes that, the better. He isn’t pitching well and will have trouble making the playoff roster if he continues this way.

The Boston Bruins just made a bold trade in dealing Tyler Seguin and the Boston Celtics just made two bold moves in dealing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and by signing Brad Stevens as coach (I won’t discuss the Patriots here…), perhaps it’s time for the Red Sox to do something bold as well.

Strange Move

Sunday, the Yankees claimed Travis Ishikawa off of waivers from the Orioles. Monday, he was the starting first baseman. In order to make room for Ishikawa, they sent David Adamd down to the minors.

I don’t understand this move for two reasons. First, Ishikawa is a lefty-hitting first baseman. Essentially, he is Lyle Overbay and the Yankees already have Overbay. He doesn’t hit lefties well like Overbay so he offers no help there. I get that the Yankees don’t have a true backup first baseman, but Adams could fill in there and Vernon Wells has been taking grounders there. With Overbay, Ishikawa and Hafner, the Yankees have three lefty hitters who don’t hit lefties well and can offer little positionally flexibility. That’s at least one too many.

Second, why not try something that at least addresses your weaknesses? Thomas Neal got 11 AB’s in the majors, but he has hit in AAA and he can play the outfield corners and first. If you want a backup for first, why not give him a shot?

Ishikawa may prove to be a good pickup, but the odds are against him. In over 800 plate appearances in the bigs he has put up a line of .260/.324/.398. He is going to turn 30 later this season, so it’s hard to see how he would do better than those numbers and those numbers are well below what an average first baseman has put up in 2013. Lyle Overbay has put up a line of .273/.327/.492 against RHP, but only .188/.221/.300 against LHP. He is a clear case of someone in need to a platoon partner. Instead, the Yankees brought in another lefty-weird to say the least.

Shortstop Number Five

The Yankees’ injury situation is spiraling from ridiculous to ludicrous. Tonight they will debut their FIFTH shortstop of the season when Luis Cruz takes the field. Cruz is replacing Nix on the roster as Nix has a grade-2 hamstring strain. So, for those of you keeping track, we have had Nunez, Nix, Gonzalez, Brignac and Cruz play short. And with Cano playing an inning there, I guess we have had six shortstops this year! The question is, how many can we have? Jeter returning would be seven. Brent Lillibridge is sitting in AAA, he could be eight….

Ah, this is truly depressing. While I don’t think any team could have adequately prepared for this level of injury, the Yankees didn’t exactly cover themselves with glory this offseason. Cashman’s moves came up aces in April and started missing the mark in May. By June they were jinxed and it would be jejune to expect a reversal in July as August will bring the abyss. (too much?)   I keep waiting for someone to notice that Travis Hafner stopped hitting in April, but nobody seems aware of that. Since Zolio is off to a great start, maybe the Yankees will lose Hafner’s number when Curtis Granderson returns.

To me the Yankees are clearly at a crossroads. They need to make a decision to go out and trade for help, or they should start selling. You can argue for either approach and be right, but maintaing the status quo should not be an option.