The New York Yankees are going into the 2021 season much more healthy than in the last two seasons, yet questions remain. Here is an update on all the player’s injuries, surgeries, and lingering problems from last season.
Luis Severino started to be a star pitcher for the Yankees and a possible ace after two years of a .700 or greater winning percentages. In 2018 he was 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in record 32 starts. That all fell apart before spring training in 2019 when he required Tommy John surgery. It was thought that he might be back for 2020, but a setback prevented that. It was then expected that he would be back in August of 2021.
Now that spring training is going into the second week of workouts, Bryan Hoch, an MLB insider, has reported that Luis Severino was tossing at 120 feet. And manager Aaron Boone knows that first hand as the manager actually caught the former Yankees star recently. Boone said he was as strong as anybody in the bullpen and would likely throw from the mound in the next week or two. It now appears he could be back with the team as early as mid-June, although he will surely be on innings limitations.
Corey Kluber, twice a Cy Young Award winner, has had some back luck the last two years. During 2019 he was hit by a ball the prematurely ended his season. In the offseason, he was traded to the Texas Rangers. He didn’t work out for the Rangers in the short 2020 season. In his first game, he developed a shoulder injury that only allowed him to pitch one inning. According to reports, he is back to form. The Yankees had an inside track to his recovery as he worked out with the Cressey organization that has ties to the Yankees. He also impressed in a pitching demonstration before he was signed.
“I feel really good right now. No issues with [my shoulder] now or anywhere along the rehab process. That’s encouraging,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a normal spot for spring training. I don’t feel like I’m still working on improving the shoulder or anything like that. I think it’s in a spot where, obviously, any part of your body, it takes maintenance throughout the year, but I’m not putting any more emphasis on that than anything else on this point.”
Kluber says he feels great and is ready to go and expects to be on the mound for the New York Yankees in the first week of the regular season.
Taillon was coming off his second Tommy John surgery and did not pitch in 2020. During his rehab time, he has made big changes to his mechanics, shortening his arm path and working to generate more power from his legs — both of which can help him protect his elbow. Taillon is now nineteen months out from his last surgery and ready to go in spring training. Taillon and Gerrit Cole were pitching buddies while with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2018 he was 14-10 with a low 3.20 ERA. He feels with the mechanical adjustments; he can now be an even better pitcher for the New York Yankees.
Gio Urshela was another trooper playing through injury last season. On September 4th, he was diagnosed with a bone spur in his right elbow. He went on the IL and returned eleven days later and played the rest of the season with the problem. It looked like the spur would not be a problem at the end of the season, but it flared up again while in Columbia, and surgery to remove it became necessary. Unfortunately, the coronavirus delayed that surgery. The surgery was finally done in December with a three-month recovery time. Manager Boone has said that Urshela is doing well, and although he may not be used in exhibition games due to an abundance of caution, he will be ready for the regular season.
Luke Voit was last year’s home run king for all of baseball, hitting 22 long balls, but it wasn’t always easy running the bases. During the last half of the season and in the postseason, he was dealing with foot issues. It was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. Voit could have gone on the IL, but the kind of player with his determination would not allow him to do so. He had a PRP shot and dealt with it like a trooper. It has been reported the foot problem is no longer an issue. Voit was a Thurmon Munson award winner this month.
Luckily for the first time since 2018, the New York Yankees have their two monster sluggers in good shape going into the new season. Both Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are healthy going into spring training, which is great news for Yankees fans. If these two can stay healthy throughout the season, there may be no stopping the Yankees.
In other good news, Gleyber Torres, who was caught off guard last season with his conditioning due to the split spring training, is in good shape and ready for the season, according to manager Aaron Boone. The Yankees also have the return of Domingo German, who was not injured last season but suspended. Although all fans and even some players aren’t thrilled he is back because of his off-field entanglements, he could be a big help in the starting rotation and eventually show the man he can be.
For the New York Yankees and all the MLB teams, this will be a year of caution in how they deal with pitchers and position players as they adjust to a season nearly three times the length of last season. The Yankees, with their depth, may have an edge on some of the other teams but will be careful in limited innings pitched and dole out days off to keep players fresh for a postseason run.