The Yankees have been slightly bitten by the injury bug already, but fans should pay very little mind to it because of the team’s superb depth.
Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks were both set to be very valuable pieces to help the Yankees be poised to make a championship run and add trophy number 28 to the collection, but their bodies didn’t agree with that notion.
Hicks suffered an intercostal strain on his right side, basically the same injury as his previously injured oblique that cost him a bunch of time last season.
Bird, unfortunately, might be that guy that we all see the phenomenal potential in but stays very injury prone. Yankees fans won’t get to see that pretty swing from the left side for roughly 6 to 8 weeks with a right ankle surgery to remove a bone spur; the same ankle that was operated on last season.
While these injuries undoubtedly hurt the ballclub, it doesn’t affect them nearly as bad as some may think…
Proving some of the valuable depth, the Yankees called up slugging outfielder/first basemen Billy McKinney. Coming off his phenomenal spring, that power hitting lefty bat will find lots of success at Yankees stadium.
Beyond McKinney, the Yankees bench has the depth that allows them to do things and go through things, that some other teams cannot.
- Tyler Wade, still a very young player, showed lots of promise this spring after a rough beginning in the MLB at the tail end of last season. Wade’s glove is gold glove caliber, and his versatility is a phenomenal thing to have on the ballclub. The speedster can play anywhere in the infield and has taught himself to play the outfield as well.
- Tyler Austin, whom the Yankees recalled after the Bird injury, is personally one of my favorite guys to watch. Austin, built like a middle linebacker in the NFL, has a presence at the plate that brings fear to opposing pitching even when he’s in the 9 hole. Austin showed flashes of power during his stints in the MLB previously and this spring as well, but Yankees fans and the Yankees brass need to see more from Austin as a complete hitter, and an ability to stay healthy.
The Yankees utilized their depth immediately as they used both Tyler’s on Opening Day when they pulled Austin later in the game, slid Neil Walker over to first base, and had Wade come in to play second base, where he showed his athleticism as he proceeded to make a phenomenal play up the middle right after his entry to the game.
- Neil Walker, a ‘pros pro’, is one of the best signings the Yankees have made in recent time. The former silver slugger winner gives the Yankees much-needed infield depth and a very solid bat at the end of the lineup. Also, being a switch hitter doesn’t hurt either.
- Ronald Torreyes, aka ‘Toe’, is a fan favorite in the Bronx because of his genuine joy to play the game and his loveable small size for a professional athlete. Toe gives the Yankees depth at just about anywhere in the infield and a quality bat off the bench.
Yankees fans should still be very excited about this team, because of the way they’ve drafted recently and made team friendly signings that are paying dividends now. Beyond the depth they have on their current 25 man roster, their minor league talent is some of the best in the game.
The Bronx Bombers have top prospects Gleyber Torres, Estevan Florial, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller, and way more; just patiently waiting in the wayside for their call to the big leagues. Torres and Heller are two names the Yankees and their fans can get accustomed to their call-ups in all likelihood coming this season.
Coming off of a dominant 6-1 victory over division rival Toronto Blue Jays, the Bombers look to take game 2 tonight with Masahiro Tanaka on the bump, and their slugging lineup ready to rake again.
The lineup won’t see much of a change aside from maybe Didi sliding up into the 5 hole where Hicks debuted the season at yesterday.
Tune in to YES Network at 4:07 pm EST, to see if the Yankees utilize their depth yet again to win another ball game.