May 2, 2007

Injuries Mounting for Yankees

During one feel-good game, possibly for the ages, the Yankees watched as their top pitching prospect, Phil Hughes, threw a no-hitter for 6 1/3 innings. The Yankees needed this uplifting start from someone on their pitching staff. It seemed that young Hughes, who was okay in his Major League debut against the Blue Jays, read the statement issued by George Steinbrenner the day before and decided it was time to rise to the occasion and pitch an incredible game.

With plenty of run support, the young Yankees phenomenon dominated the Rangers, walking three and allowing no hits. Then, he pulled a hamstring. Ouch! That's not only for Hughes himself, but a growing number of Yankees, especially the pitching staff who are limping around with pulled hamstrings and other maladies. How can this be? Is there something in sunflower seeds they keep spitting all over the dugout?

Brian Cashman didn't analyze the buckets of sunflower seeds, or the bottled water for that matter; yet, he did use some logic and narrow things down to their new Director of Performance Enhancement, Marty Miller. Where there weren't so many hamstring injuries before Miller took over, there are now plenty with Mike Mussina, Hideki Matsui, Chin Ming Wang, and now Phil Hughes all sustaining hamstring injuries. While it's not certain that Miller's work is responsible for these injuries, Cashman is most likely on the right track. Plus, we the baseball consumers will never really know what the Yankees know and aren't telling us.

If Brian was awake all night thinking about this, as he stated on the YES Network before Wednesday night's rain out against the Rangers, he is aware of much more than they are letting on. Miller's firing does not come from guess work. Also, as desperate as the Yankees are to turn things around, firing someone wouldn't have been all that drastic a maneuver to begin with. With that said, it will take a long time to determine that Cashman has found the culprit which has been sidelining his players since the beginning if the season.

If Miller's training and conditioning methods are indeed the cause of all of the recent injuries, then it seems like Cashman’s move is a reasonable one. But, during the course of any baseball season, injuries are common enough without players straining themselves due to poorly planned exercise routines. Fans can only hope that the “Baseball Gods” take pity on the Yankees decimated roster and allow them to dive for base hits, slide into base, and pitch beyond the fifth inning without harm. Johnny Damon has been complaining of a bad back for at least a week now and has been going to a chiropractor. Let's hope that the chiropractor isn't named Miller.

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