By Ernie Palladino
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When is enough enough?
When the baseball gods say it’s enough.
Apparently, they haven’t communicated with the Yankees at all.
Why else would Mark Teixeira now be missing eight to 10 weeks with a sprained wrist? With CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez either out, iffy, or just taking it slow for the opening weeks of the regular season, the loss of Teixeira could become the breaking point of a slide down the power hill.
It’s a precipitous drop, too. If you remember, the Yanks were pretty much an all-or-nothing team last year. When their hitters knocked things out of the park, they won a lot. When they didn’t, they lost a lot.
Now, with Teixeira out until mid-May, perhaps longer, and Nick Swisher gone in free agency to the Indians, they stand to start the season minus a parade of power hitters that supplied 109 of their major league-leading 245 home run total.
Worse yet, Granderson’s forearm and Teixeira’s wrist injuries could linger, reducing their potential still more.
Maybe this is all makeup for the titles and the playoff appearances. Maybe this is the gods telling the Yankees that this is their turn to endure a little misery, to see how teams like the Mets and Royals and Astros feel for a while as folks like Jayson Nix, Dan Johnson and Juan Rivera hold down the fort for a while.
Right now, the biggest healthy name in that lineup is Robbie Cano, and he’s off playing for the Dominican Republic. It’s still a nice name to have. Even Derek Jeter hasn’t appeared in a game yet as he recovers from the busted ankle from the playoffs.
Offseason pickup Kevin Youkilis is a nice player, and his versatility makes him the prime option to take over for Tex at first. But does anyone really think the former Red Sox star is going to lead anyone anywhere at this point in his career?
As far as pitchers go, there’s no saying Sabathia, Pettitte and Phil Hughes, the latter battling a herniated disk, won’t be ready for the first week or two of the season. But the fact that Joe Girardi is taking it slow with all of them doesn’t engender great confidence, either. All they need is for their top three — two of them aged — to get off to slow starts, and this quickly could turn into an ugly, ugly season.
It’ll get worse Saturday from a psychological standpoint, too. That’s when Mariano Rivera is expected to announce that 2013 will be his final season. He only made nine appearances last year because of the torn ACL that cost him the season. Now, his retirement announcement could throw extra pressure on the shoulders of offensive replacements who certainly don’t need the added weight of positioning Mo for a good, statistical end to his career.
The overall prospects are not bright. Things went downhill fast from just three days ago, when Teixeira’s problems were supposed to be over around the same time as the World Baseball Classic. That would have left at least some time for him to work himself back into Opening Day shape.
The baseball gods saw fit to do otherwise.
They may just have doomed the Yanks to a bad season, a year where they get to see how the other half lives.
Mean people, those gods.
What’s your prediction for the 2013 Yankees? Will they overcome all this? Be heard in the comments…