The Yankees have their first official injury problem of 2014 after yesterday's MRI on Brendan Ryan revealed a pinched nerve in his upper back. This comes after he had already been out of action for over a week with a sore lower back/oblique, and the early reports make it sound like he's not going to be ready for Opening Day. He's taking pills to help the pain and could get a cortisone injection next week, but there's no timetable for his return to baseball activities let alone games.
For such a small part of the infield puzzle, Ryan and his back issues could cause major problems in the infield if they don't heal properly and dog him throughout the season. None of the other utility infielder types are in the same realm as him when it comes to defense, especially not Eduardo Nunez, and that's the biggest thing the Yankees need at short with Derek Jeter starting. Dean Anna hasn't looked great defensively, Scott Sizemore hasn't been able to play much and couldn't handle shortstop if he was, and ST superstar Yangervis Solarte is a completely unknown commodity as a Major Leaguer.
The most important thing right now is that Ryan takes the time he needs to get healthy, and with any luck he won't miss too much game time once the regular season starts. The longer he stays out though, the more pressure it puts on that next tier of guys, the more pressure it puts on Jeter, and the more pressure it puts on Joe to manage Jeter's workload.
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