Monday, May 19, 2014

Maintaining Kuroda's Workload Restriction In The Face Of A Rotation Depletion

(Courtesy of the AP)

It's Pitcher Workload Monday around here today, huh?  That'll happen when 60% of your Opening Day  rotation is on the DL and replaced with 3 guys who struggle to complete 6 innings.  Further complicating matters is the fact that one of the remaining 2 healthy starters, Hiroki Kuroda, entered this season with a workload restriction attached to him.  Similarly to how Joe handled Andy Pettitte last season, the plan for Kuroda was to be a 6-inning/100-pitch pitcher for the most part.  The thought was that by limiting him to those thresholds early, it would help prevent the late-season decline in performance he experienced in 2013.  It's also a smart "better safe than sorry" strategy to take with a pitcher in his late 30s.

The problem with that strategy is that the substitution of Nuno-Phelps-Whitley for Nova-Pineda-Sabathia has put an extra strain on the bullpen.  One way to help alleviate that strain would be to let Kuroda pitch a little deeper in his outings, something Joe had the opportunity to do that in yesterday's opening doubleheader game.  Instead, he chose to stick to script with Kuroda and not push him.

Cash Says CC Will Be Out Until July

Confirming what most of us already suspected was the case, Cash told Joel Sherman earlier today that CC Sabathia is going to be out "until at least July" because of  the degenerative condition in his right knee, saying CC's return date "will be no sooner than 6 weeks from now."  According to Sherman's report, Cash said the 6-week timetable is the result of the stem cell injection CC was given by Dr. James Andrews last week and includes recovery and rehab time.

David Waldstein has confirmed Sherman's story and also that the 6-week timetable is from last Thursday, the date of the stem cell injection.  Sabathia was supposed to get off his crutches today and begin pool therapy work tomorrow, according to Cash, and I suspect today's follow-up with the team doctor is to confirm that CC can stay on that schedule.

Obviously this ramps up the Yankees' search for rotation help, which Cash also confirmed to Sherman, but right now there isn't much out there.  While we wait for that market to materialize, we might as well start waiting for the eventual report that Sabathia is behind schedule and will not be back in 6 weeks.  This whole thing has that kind of feel to it.  Hard to expect that 1 injection will be enough to overcome that many years of wear and tear on that knee.

Are Warren And Betances Being Overworked?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees split yesterday's doubleheader against the Pirates in part because they were working with an undermanned bullpen all day.  Joe declared Dellin Betances unavailable before the first game after pitching him for 2+ innings on Thursday and Saturday and 3 times in the last 7 days, and Adam Warren became unavailable after the first game when Joe went to him in the 8th for the 3rd time in 4 days and watched him give up 3 hits and record only 2 outs.

D-Rob finished up that game with his second straight 4-out save, so he may not have been available for the second game either.  What was certain was that his current top 2 setup men were definitely not available and their shoddy replacements got beat for 2 late runs that sealed the Yankees' fate.  Betances and Warren are still pretty new to the higher-leverage relief gig thing, but it's not a stretch to say they're light years better than the Alfredos Aceves and Prestons Claiborne of the world.  Joe's recognized that pretty quickly and has leaned heavily on Warren and Betances through the first quarter of the season to overcome the injuries to D-Rob and Shawn Kelley.  Perhaps too heavily?

Report: Yanks Among 5 "Finalists" Interested In Cuban OF Daniel Carbonell

We know the Yankees are planning a massive international spending spree when the signing period opens on July 2nd.  According to new reports, they may be able to add a big name international player before then without having him count against the international spending cap.

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are among 5 MLB teams who are currently considered "finalists" to sign Carbonell.  The only other team named is the Mariners.  For those who don't know, Carbonell is a 23-year-old switch-hitting outfielder who recently defected from Cuba.  In his last pro season there, he hit .278/.388/.405 in 127 PA.  His ceiling as a Major Leaguer is unknown, but from what I've read I don't think he profiles as a big time power hitter like Yoenis Cespedes or Jose Abreu or as quite the all-around hitter that Yasiel Puig has quickly become.

Still, an injection of Major League-ready talent or something close to that would be helpful to the team.  The crop of high-level outfield prospects hasn't done much this season and a more experienced hitter that's Carbonell's age is much more useful to the Yanks than a bunch of 16 and 17-year-olds.  If they have enough good scouting information on him and are truly as interested as Rosenthal is reporting, I'd be all for signing him.

CC To Be Reevaluated Today, Will Miss More Than 15 Days

This was the most likely outcome given last Thursday's diagnosis of "degenerative changes" in CC Sabathia's twice-surgically repaired right knee, but Joe made it official after yesterday's games that CC is going to be out longer than the minimum 15 days.  He will be examined again by the team doctor today in an attempt to come up with a rehab plan, but for now there is nothing planned until Dr. Ahmad gets another look at the knee.

Sabathia has been on crutches since the knee inflammation was first diagnosed and I imagine there's a chance that today's examination determines he needs to stay on them for a while longer.  Joe's statement to the media yesterday conveyed how unsure the team is about his condition and how serious a problem it could become:

"Is it a 15-day DL?  It’s going to be more than that, I can tell you that. When we’ll get him back, I don’t think any of us really know, because this is not something that’s done very often."

For now, I guess we just wait and see what comes out of today's reevaluation.  An official announcement from the team should come later today or sometime before tomorrow's game.  I'm not expecting it to be a positive one.