A tall task for Yankees to flip health script after injury sapped 70% roster in 2023

Jasson Dominguez in his New York Yankees uniform, standing confidently on the baseball field, representing the team's top prospect according to Major League Baseball rankings.
AP
Amanda Paula
Monday February 19, 2024

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As the New York Yankees commenced their 2024 spring training, memories of the injury-plagued 2023 season loomed large. The team’s staggering expenditure of $82,093,459 on injured players, coupled with 28 players spending a cumulative 2,154 days on the injured list, underscored the severity of the issue. Indeed, the Yankees’ injury struggles have become an enduring narrative, tarnishing their performance on the field and prompting concerns about their prospects for the future.

Cole calls for offseason focus on injury prevention

Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ ace pitcher, articulated the team’s frustrations, acknowledging the pressing need for improvement regarding their injury woes. Reflecting on the setbacks of the previous season, Cole emphasized the team’s vulnerability to injuries and stressed the imperative of enhancing their resilience.

“This isn’t how it used to be,” Cole said. “Even 10 years ago or so when I started, guys would come into spring training and use spring training as a ramp-up. There’s just a higher level of intensity much sooner now. That forces the demand on the player to build the tank up, the capacity up and the tolerance in the offseason. That’s going to be your number one goal.

Throughout his career, Cole has epitomized durability, consistently taking the field season after season. As the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, he has reliably made a minimum of 30 starts and pitched over 180 innings—often surpassing the 200-inning mark—in each of the last six full seasons. Cole attributes his ability to maintain this rigorous schedule to his proactive approach during the offseason, long before the commencement of spring training.

“From a personal standpoint, it’s a focus of mine to be able to get out there for as many games as possible. There’s always little areas where you can be improving. I feel that there’s been an added focus, especially with some of the conversations that I’ve had around here, that that’s been an area of attention for a lot of our players.”

The Yankees’ Ongoing Injury Woes

The 2023 season unfolded as a litany of setbacks for the Yankees, with key players sidelined by various ailments. The absence of three-fifths of the expected starting rotation, including notable pitchers like Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodon, significantly hampered the team’s competitiveness. As the Yankees embark on a new season, the specter of injuries continues to cast a shadow, albeit tempered by cautious optimism and proactive measures to mitigate risk.

While the Yankees have thus far evaded major injuries in the early days of spring training, the specter of past seasons looms large. Scott Effross, recuperating from Tommy John surgery, encountered a setback with a back injury, while starting catcher Jose Trevino nursed a calf strain. Despite these setbacks, the Yankees remain vigilant, leveraging insights gained from an extended offseason to bolster their players’ physical readiness.

For players like Rodón, the offseason has been a period of introspection and transformation. Shedding excess weight and adopting rigorous training regimens, players endeavor to fortify themselves against the rigors of the upcoming season. Cole, a paragon of durability throughout his career, underscores the importance of offseason preparation in ensuring sustained performance and longevity on the field.

However, the challenges confronting the Yankees extend beyond individual efforts to collective initiatives aimed at fostering a culture of resilience and accountability. Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ general manager, underscores the imperative of fortifying the team against future setbacks, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to injury prevention and management.

As the Yankees embark on their quest for redemption in the 2024 season, the specter of injuries looms large, a constant reminder of past tribulations and future uncertainties. Yet, amidst the trials and tribulations, there exists a glimmer of hope—a collective resolve to confront adversity head-on and emerge stronger, united in pursuit of a shared aspiration: championship glory.

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One thought on “A tall task for Yankees to flip health script after injury sapped 70% roster in 2023

  1. The Yankees did not change their medical staff at all this off season. So, tell me, how are they going to stop the injuries, or, keep the downtime from the basic bumps and bruises down to maybe a few days? The roster construction doesn’t help either with virtually no positional bench. A backup catcher and 3 utility players don’t cut it.

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