Monday, August 05, 2019

Bad Luck Yankees Or Is It More

The good news is that the New York Yankees keep winning. They just completed a sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the erstwhile defending champs who cannot seem to get out of their own way. They are still nine ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the loss column despite that the Rays seem to play one awful team after another and keep winning. They are fighting the dang-fangled and brilliant Astros for the best record in the AL. But the injuries just keep coming and coming. Are these injuries just bad luck? Or could they have been more preventable?

I keep going back to a conversation I heard on talk radio. I cannot remember the NBA player who was being interviewed nor the specifics. But I remember the gist of it. The question was posed to him if his team was more successful than this other contending team because they were able to stay healthier. His answer resonated with me. He said there was a reason why the other team was injured more often and that was because this player's team made sure to hire the most brilliant conditioners and the other team did not.

Is that statement made by an athlete in the most demanding physical sport of the top sports relevant to the Yankees? It could be. Some of the Yankee injuries could not be conditioned against. Edwin Encarnacion getting hit by a pitch has nothing to do with conditioning. Miguel Andujar tearing his labrum on a dive back to third could not be prevented with conditioning. CC Sabathia's knee is just wearing out. There is nothing to see there.

But it is all these muscular issues that baffle me. Here is a partial list:

  • Aaron Judge with an abdominal strain
  • Giancarlo Stanton's original bicep strain.
  • Gary Sanchez with a groin injury and another strain before that one.
  • Luis Severino who after his shoulder problem experienced a lat strain.
  • Dellin Betances who is in the same boat as Severino.
  • Gleyber Torres has a core issue
  • DJ LeMahieu had a core issue.
  • Cameron Maybin had a calf strain
  • Domingo German had a hip-flexor strain.

That is a lot of muscle issues and it is just a partial list! Back in April, the blog, Bleeding Yankee Blue posed the question strongly and yet here is is months later and there is total silence on any fallout of what all these injuries mean as far as any team or coach culpability.

Here are the questions I would like to see answered about this issue:

  • Do the players buy in to the Strength and Conditioning program?
  • If not, why not?  
  • Should contracts deal with player's specific training regimens?
  • Should players who have their own Strength and Conditioning people be approved by the team's staff?
  • How does the amount of money the Yankees spend on Strength and Conditioning compare to other teams?
  • How does the Yankees' staff compare on the national or regional market? Are they highly rated?
  • Do all these strategic days off given to players help or hinder them in a muscular conditioning way? And how would they know? It does not seem to help any from what I can see.

I think fans have a right to know this kind of information. And it would definitely be something to want to know if the situation is as bad as it seems and costs the Yankees a wonderful chance at a World Championship.