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Saturday, July 13, 2013
First Pitch: Yankees rushing players back?

By Matt Ehalt



NEW YORK -- As Derek Jeter suffered a grade 1 strain of his right quad on Thursday, he rejoined the list of Yankees who have suffered injuries shortly after returning to the Bronx.

While Jeter, who also had an April setback, didn't land on the disabled list yet, the Yankees have previously seen Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Curtis Granderson each played a few games before finding themselves back on the DL.

While the Yankees certainly have been unlucky this year in terms of injuries, that rash of injuries raises the question: Is bad luck totally to blame or are the Yankees rushing their players back too quickly to the field?

It could be argued that the Yankees rushed Jeter back too quickly for this weekend's series against the Twins. Jeter never played in back-to-back games during his rehab, as the team had hoped, before he got called up.

Teixeira is another case where perhaps he may have returned too soon, as the right wrist that had sidelined him for the first 53 games flared up again and would ultimately need season-ending surgery. Teixeira even said, when he was placed on the disabled list, that he probably overdid it a bit.

On the flip side, Granderson is just a case of bad luck. After missing the first 38 games with a fractured right wrist, he fractured his left pinky and is back on the disabled list. He played in just a total of eight games before being sidelined.

With Youkilis, his back flared up once again after returning, but it was herniated disc that would knock him out after returning, compared to a lumbar sprain that had originally kept him away. Both are obviously back issues.

Seemingly every month, the Yankees have awaited the return of a starter, only to watch that starter have his timetable pushed back or see him play a few games before an injury pops up again. Jeter is just the latest example.

With as ravaged a roster as the Yankees currently have, they need to figure out how to keep their stars in uniform if they want to stay in the playoff race.

Up now: Jeter won't play this weekend. Ian O'Connor wrote that the Yankees need to learn how to manage an aging Jeter. HOPE Week concluded.

On deck: The Yankees and Twins meet in the second game of the three-game set. Phil Hughes (4-8, 4.55 ERA) faces Samuel Deduno (4-4, 3.90). Andrew Marchand and I will be at the Stadium for all the news.

Question: Have the Yankees rushed their players back?