Will Middlebrooks left the field in the top of the 1st inning of an exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles (so far the news on that has been positive), the news out of Tampa where the New York Yankees are holding spring training has been anything but positive.
Even before centerfielder Curtis Granderson suffered a fractured right forearm against the Blue Jays on Sunday, there were warning signs everywhere you looked. For one, this team is - by baseball terms at least - old. Of the projected starting 8 position players only catcher Francisco Cervelli (at best a backup at the position) and outfielder Brett Gardner (Red Sox fans think Jacoby Ellsbury is injury-prone?) are under 30, and Gardner will turn 30 later this season. Alex Rodriguez could miss the entire 2013 season and his replacement, Kevin Youkilis has been shut down for a few days with an oblique issue.
For another, the Yankees offense got a whole lot less fierce-looking in the off-season to the tune of 155 home runs hit in 2012 by players who are now wearing a different uniform.
Starting pitcher Phil Hughes has been shut down temporarily with a bulging disc in his back, and who could forget Joba Chamberlain? The Gift That Just Keeps On Giving started up the whole starter/reliever debate again after one inning in a spring training game.
What's left of the "Core Four" resembles a M.A.S.H. unit - Derek Jeter is coming off ankle surgery, Mariano Rivera is coming off knee surgery, and Andy Pettitte suffered a fractured ankle in June 2012.
Johnny Damon is practically begging the Yankees to take him back, and the team is now said to be considering a trade to bring Alfonso Soriano back from the Chicago Cubs. The old could keep getting even older.
You don't necessarily want to write the Yankees off just yet; it is, after all only February 28. And despite claims of a desire to stick to a budget, you have to figure Hal and Hank Steinbrenner will eventually channel their inner George and direct General Manager Brian Cashman (pictured) to try to make a Big Move. That said, perhaps we can at least agree that the Yankees have just as many question marks, if not more, than the Red Sox coming into the 2013 season.
You can follow Jim Monaghan on twitter - @Monaghan21 Jim Monaghan 2/28/2013 11:13:00 AM Tweet