Per Bryan Hoch at MLB.com, a couple injury reports.
Frankie Montas surgery went well. They cleaned up his right labrum and did not have to deal with the rotator cuff at all. He will begin a throwing program in 3 months (late May) and it looks like we may be seeing him then after the All-Star break.
Ben Rortvedt had surgery for an aneurysm in his left shoulder and will not be doing any baseball activities for a month. Rortvedt, 25, a lefty hitting catcher acquired in the same deal as Kiner-Falefa and Donaldson, had injuries last year which limited him to only 48 minor league games. He hasn’t hit much in the minors but is regarded as a fine defensive catcher. He would have been trying to beat out Kyle Higashioka for the backup catcher position, but with him out a month, forget that.
Austin Wells, 23, another lefty hitting catcher who is projected for AA or AAA, is out with bruised ribs. Wells is an excellent hitter, and it is his defensive ability that is questioned.
With two catchers down it will be interesting to see which other catchers get some reps in the spring training games beginning on Saturday.
Meanwhile, word on both D.J. LeMahieu and Luis Severino is very good.
Frankie Montas will have shoulder surgery next Tuesday Feb. 21. Best case scenario is that he comes back in the second half of the season. The worst case is that he misses the whole year.
With Montas a free agent after the season, it is very likely that the Yankees will get nothing from Montas after a trade in which Montas (who was acquired with Lou Trivino) gave the Yankees eight starts last year, going 1-3, 6.35 while giving up young prospects in
Luis Medina, 24 this year, 5-7, 5.24 at AA in 2022. Cooper Bowman, 23, ,215-11-47 with 47 SB at High A. J.P. Sears, who turns 27 in a few days, 6-3, 3.86 between the Yanks and A’s in 2022 (17 games, 11 starts) and Ken Waldichuk, 25, 2-2, 4.93 in 7 starts with Oakland after the trade.
We will see what the lefties Sears and Waldichuk do this year, but I hated giving those two up, and both look like they could be MLB help this year (both could be in the A’s starting rotation). Now it looks as if Domingo German (who Aaron Boone says looks really good on this first day of pitchers and catchers reporting) and Clarke Schmidt will be competing for the #5 spot in the rotation, but after them, who else is on the depth chart? Will Warren (hasn’t pitched above AA)? Clayton Beeter (ditto)? Randy Vasquez (ditto again)? Yoendrys Gomez (ditto)? None of those four have AAA experience, (Luis Gil is recovering from TJ surgery).
Last year’s moves at the trade deadline have really backfired for the Yanks. Besides Montas, the Yanks got Andrew Benintendi for LF but he broke a hamate bone, missed the last couple weeks of the season as well as the postseason, then went to the White Sox as a free agent. The Yanks only got 33 games and .254-2-12 out of Benintendi (yes, I had wanted him, but who knew he, Montas, and Effross—who I’ll discuss next—would get hurt?). But for Benintendi, the Yanks gave up
Chandler Champlain, 23, 3-8, 5.98 at Low and High A ball. T.J. Sikkema, 24, 1-6, 4.83 at High A/AA and Beck Way, 23, 8-8, 3.75 at High A.
None MLB ready yet, but Way looks AA bound.
Then there was Effross, who was great in 13 games, 0-0, 2.13, and three saves but who then needed TJ surgery which will make him miss all of this year. For Effross, the Yanks gave up
Hayden Wesneski, 25, who after the deal went 3-2, 2.18 in 6 games (4 starts) for the Cubs last year.
The Yanks could have used Sears, Waldichuk and Wesneski as depth. For them they got Trivino, Montas (out all or most of this year) and Effross (out all of this year). Ugh.
Sometimes you need to do better due diligence on a player’s health (Montas had shoulder issues before the trade) and sometimes you just get unlucky (Beninteni and Effross). Either way, last year’s acquisitions have been disastrous.
In some other camp news, D.J. LeMahieu is looking good after that toe problem ruined the end of his season last year, and Michael King looks ready to go after that fractured elbow ended a fabulous season for him last year.
The Yankees (80-54) got one heck of a scare, and perhaps a break, in the bottom of the ninth, but they held on to defeat Tampa Bay, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon.
Of course, they were led by Aaron Judge, who factored into both runs the Yanks scored.
Judge hit the second pitch of the game for his 53rd HR of the season. The 450 ft. blast set a new season high for him, passing the 52 he had in his ROY season of 2017. It also was his 115th RBI of the year, also passing his 2017 total of 114.
Judge had three of the Yankees’ six hits in the game.
In the top of the seventh, Judge doubled, and on a ball hit to short, went to third. Usually, you do NOT do that. But Judge beat the throw to third. It’s a risky play, but with the Yanks’ offense in a funk, he decided that he needed to be aggressive. It probably won the game for the Yankees. Judge then scored on a SF by Oswaldo Cabrera. The way the inning played out, if Judge did not go to third on that play, he would not have been driven in. It turned out to be the deciding run.
Meanwhile, four Yankees’ pitchers combined to shut Tampa Bay out into the ninth. Then Clay Holmes came in and things got hairy. He gave up a leadoff double. A liner to right moved the runner to third. A single made it 2-1. A liner to CF (nice range by defensive replacement Estevan Florial) for out #2. Then a double, but the potential tying run was held up at third. Then Holmes went to 3-2 on Yandy Diaz. Holmes got a called strike three call on a pitch Diaz and the Rays thought was low. Watching on TV, I thought the Yanks caught a break, for I thought it was ball four myself. Makes up for all those low strikes called on Judge.
So, the Yanks lead over Tampa Bay is five, and it’s six over Toronto. The Yanks’ magic number to clinch the AL East is 25. 28 games to go.
But some other Yankees’ related news:
Andrew Benintendi needs surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right wrist. He had problems with it before and it was removed, but either not all of it was removed or some bone grew back. The hook detached from this bone. This was the injury from the other night. At least it was caught early, due to advances in medical technology. In 1965, this was misdiagnosed for Roger Maris, and even though Maris eventually had surgery, he was never the same again and lost power in that hand.
The great Albert Pujols, retiring after this season, hit his 695th career HR yesterday, placing him 1 behind Alex Rodriguez for fourth place on the all-time HR list. Barry Bonds had 762* (asterisk intended), Henry Aaron had 755, Babe Ruth 714 and Rodriguez 696*. We will see if Pujols catches Alex and if he can even get #700 before he retires.