FIFTY THOUSAND MOONS

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fingers crossed in saying it... but still no big spring injuries

Three years ago, in his first spring training at bat, Curtis Granderson broke his right forearm on a swing. He missed the next 10 weeks. He returned in late May and quickly broke his pinkie finger - gone for another five weeks. That year, the Grandyman played in 61 games and batted a painful .229. Worse, John Sterling sang the Grandyman home run theme a mere 7 times. Basically, our season was snake-bitten from the git-go.

Around this time last March, the fellow generally believed to be our fifth starter - Chris Capuano - strained a gonad while covering first base. As disasters went, this wasn't the Titanic - Capuano had his issues - but that was pretty much the end to his season. Throughout 2015, Cappy flat-out shat: 0-4 with an ERA of 7.97. He's gone now, and on a better day, I wouldn't even think of him.

But I do... because when the Oracle says you cannot predict baseball, he's sort of wrong. For example, we can say that, in a bad year, David Ortiz will still hit 20 home runs. But what we can't say is whether Ortiz will tweak a cheek and miss six months. You can't predict that Carlos Beltran will hit a wall, do a cartwheel, and slump for the rest of 2014, as he did.

What you can't predict are injuries.

Last February, the Yankee pitching ranks were decimated by several young prospects reporting arm issues. (Ian Clarkson, Jose Campos, Ty Hensley) This year, we lost Greg Bird to a shoulder operation - a cruel deal by fate - and we are still waiting for one big shoe to drop: Brett Gardner's bone bruise hasn't healed in three months... the most worrisome Tampa news of 2016.

Nevertheless, nobody's yet crashed into a wall - as Jose Pirela did last March. No front line starter has gone down... yet.

Could this be a side-benefit of the new, highly touted training hill - a mound built for Yankee strength and conditioning coach Matt Krause (now in his third year.) Or is this a veteran team that is verrrrrrrrrrrrrry slowly subjecting its elderly players to the stresses of game action? Is it a genuine good omen? Am I jinxing it, by mentioning it?

Let's be wise enough to enjoy a good thing while you have it.

Clearly, if someone goes down today, it's on me. I should have kept quiet. But we're hitting week four, and we haven't seen the ambulance... yet. The Redsocks are increasingly worried about Eduardo Rodriguez - one of their big starter hopes - who still isn't throwing off a mound. And their top pitching prospect - a first-round pick named Michael Kopek - broke his hand last week in a fight with a teammate. (You go, Redsocks! Trump, Trump, Trump!) Luck can be everything in a season, and the juju gods haven't yet shown us their dice.

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