Yankees injuries remain a test for new team health director

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Directors of player health and performance, Casey Stengel said, are like umpires and weather forecasters. We only talk about them when things go wrong under their watch.(OK, you get me. Casey surely never said the words “directors of player health and performance” in that exact order. Just plug in “railroad conductors” or “Milkmen” and a) Casey probably said so, and b) the feeling remains the same.)

We’re talking about Eric Cressey, the Yankees’ freshman health and performance director, as 2020 quickly turned into an unwanted repeat of the defending AL East champion’s injury nightmare in 2019. Saturday , on a day off thanks to the Mets’ COVID woes, the Yankees trained at Yankee Stadium and made three people available to the media via Zoom calls: manager Aaron Boone and, fittingly, pitchers Zack Britton and James Paxton, both suffered disabling illnesses during the Rays takeover of Yankee Stadium.

It would be more than unfair to primarily blame Cressey, some sort of celebrity, or his subordinates for the damage to their watch. Too many events beyond their control have led a staggering 10 Yankees players to join the injured roster with the regular season celebrating its month-long anniversary on Sunday. Still, it would be journalistically absurd not to discuss the agitated Yankees injury.

“While we were doing the overhaul, the overhaul took place in January,” Boone said, referring to Cressey’s arrival. ” [We] not yet had an offseason since we revised it. Everything was sort of on the fly, leveling up through spring training.

Eric Cressey
Eric CresseyYouTube.com

“I have confidence in our team and our strength and conditioning team to do a good job, hopefully preventing some things from happening. But hopefully when we look in… a few years, we’ll really start to see the dividends paid.

Long-term optimism does little to dampen short-term stress, with the Yankees planning to activate Aaron Judge out of the IL for their next game, likely Tuesday in Atlanta, but no one else is likely to join the ‘effort for a few weeks beyond. this. As Luke Voit said on Thursday, the day the Yankees lost both Paxton (left forearm flexor tension) and Gleyber Torres (tight left hamstrings and quads) as the Rays took them down. swept up at Yankee Stadium, “It’s crazy that this is happening again. ”

Of course, this entire Major League Baseball season has been crazy. As I pointed out in a separate column, the 30 clubs had collectively used the injured list 146 times for a total of 1,461 days missed in games on Thursday, Day 29 of the regular season. Over 29 days last year, those numbers were 93 and 1,280.

“I think it’s pretty straightforward: a short spring workout,” Paxton said, referring to the 2.0 spring workout which was less than half the length of the 1.0 spring workout. “We didn’t have enough time to go at a slower speed to get ready, and now, a few weeks into the season, the guys are no longer fresh. Fatigue accumulates. We don’t have that base that we normally have. ”

On a related note, Paxton attributed his injury to accelerating his change too quickly, which would not have happened during a standard length spring training.

Britton, who has a strained left hamstring, has defended Cressey passionately, although he has made every effort not to divulge any exclusive information about what Cressey presented to the team.

“These guys do special things in there,” said Britton, referring to the Yankees clubhouse. “Obviously they have a very short window this year to implement a lot of the things that we are doing just because of the circumstances we are in. But I think on a medical side, on a bodybuilding side, we’re doing an amazing job with the new programs in place. … I don’t think injuries are a reflection of these guys at all.

The Yankees refused to make Cressey available to speak, as is their standard practice. He will have a lot more time to correct things. To live up to its hype. Trying to get people to stop talking about him, the ultimate goal, as Casey would have said, for this particular line of work.

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