Results tagged ‘ Dr. Chris Ahmad ’

Teixeira to miss 3-4 days with strained lat

Just when the Yankees have gotten on a roll, Mark Teixeira has had to come out of the lineup. Tex has been bothered on and off the past two weeks by back spasms. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam revealed a mild strain of the left lat. The first baseman does not have to do on the 15-day disabled list, but he is not likely to play in the four-game series against the Rangers that began Monday night.

Teixeira said before the game that he thought the condition would improve with the four-day layoff of the All-Star break. Instead, it got worse.

“The same thing happened last year when I came back after missing so much time the previous year,” Teixeira said. “You think you’re going to find a fountain of youth, but the time away made me rusty.”

Teixeira certainly looked rusty during the Yankees’ sweep of the Reds by going hitless with one walk and five strikeouts in 12 at-bats. He was to receive a plasma injection from Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees team physician, before the game. The Yankees are hopeful Teixeira may return in three or four days.

Tanaka sustains first severe setback with elbow pain

How many Yankees found themselves over the course of the first portion of the 2014 season asking this question:

“Where would be without Masahiro Tanaka?”

Let’s hope we don’t have to find that out. Yankees Universe held a collective breath Wednesday with the news that Tanaka returned to New York to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam on his right elbow after complaining of soreness there during the Yankees’ 5-3 loss Tuesday night at Cleveland. Tanaka allowed five runs and 10 hits, both season highs against him, in 6 2/3 innings.

For the time being, the Yankees are terming the injury right elbow inflammation. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list, which now makes four-fifths of the Opening Day rotation on the DL. Ivan Nova is lost for the entire season. CC Sabathia may be also, and Michael Pineda won’t likely be back before August. Hiroki Kuroda, the only member of the Opening Day rotation still a member of the starting unit, better not walk under any ladders.

It is not yet time for Yankees fans to push the panic button despite the dire news. The club won’t know for sure what Tanaka’s issue is until the MRI is studied. The problem is that Dr. Chris Ahmad, the team physician, is attending a major orthopedist convention in Seattle, the same one that has prevented the noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews from examining Sabathia’s ailing right knee to determine if surgery is required.

Tanaka’s next scheduled start was to have been Sunday night at Baltimore, the Yankees’ final game before the All-Star break. The righthander was selected for the American League squad but was not expected to pitch in the game because of the Sunday start. It is unclear now whether he will go to Minneapolis for the game. The AL has replaced him on the roster with Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara, which stinks. It should have been David Robertson.

That is the least of the Yankees’ concern at this point. Tanaka, their prize signing in the past off-season, had proved to be every bit as effective on this side of the Pacific Ocean as he was back home in Japan where he was 24-0 last year.

In his first 14 starts for the Yankees, Tanaka was 11-1 with two no-decisions and a 1.99 ERA. He has come down to Earth somewhat in the past four starts in which he is 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA. Tanaka has nonetheless placed himself in contention for the AL Cy Young and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards by leading the league in victories with his 12-4 record, tied for first in complete games with three and ranking second in ERA at 2.51.

Now it is matter of watch and wait to see how serious the injury to Tanaka is. As for the answer to that question, well, figure it out: the Yankees were 13-5 in games started by Tanaka and 31-39 in games started by everyone else.

Surgery recommended for Nova

The worse-case scenario regarding Ivan Nova hit the Yankees’ pitching staff Tuesday. Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yanks’ team physician, confirmed the original diagnosis of a partial tear of Nova’s right ulnar collateral ligament after viewing an MRI of the righthander at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Ahmad recommended surgery.

Now it is up to Nova how to proceed. Players dealing with their first major injury are often hesitant to undergo surgery. Nova might seek another opinion, but it would likely just be another confirmation. The longer Nova waits to make a decision the longer it will be before he can get back on a mound again.

The recovery period from Tommy John surgery that was developed by the late Dr. Frank Jobe is between 12 and 18 months, probably for Nova because of his youth (27) closer to that first number. If Nova opts for the surgery now, he may be back pitching by the middle of the 2015 season.

It is a deep wound for the Yankees’ rotation. They had been counting on Nova for 15 to 20 victories this year. His spot in the rotation for the time being will be taken by lefthander Vidal Nuno, who started for the Yanks Sunday at St. Petersburg and pitched five shutout innings. Righthanders David Phelps and Adam Warren are also potential candidates down the line but are now pertinent members of the bullpen.

On the plus side for the Yankees’ staff, David Robertson was reinstated from the disabled list and back in his closer role as the Yanks opened a three-game series at Fenway Park.

Quad injury delays A-Rod’s return to Yanks

The anticipated return to the Yankees this week of third baseman Alex Rodriguez ran into a detour Sunday when an MRI performed by Dr. Chris Ahmad, the team physician, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital revealed a Grade 1 strain of his left quadriceps. That is the same condition that landed shortstop Derek Jeter on the 15-day disabled list last week.

Rodriguez, who was on an injury-rehabilitation assignment at Triple A Scranton, did not play Saturday night after reporting tightness in the quad. The three-time American League Most Valuable Player had been scheduled to rejoin the Yankees Monday in Arlington, Texas, where they open a four-game series against the Rangers. A-Rod had to go to New York instead and now will return to the Yankees’ minor-league facility at Tampa for rest and treatment.

He issued a statement through his personal publicist that read, “I am extremely disappointed with the results of the MRI and hoping to be back as soon as possible and continue with my goal of coming back and helping the Yankees win a championship.”

Since Sunday was the last day of Rodriguez’s 20-day rehab, he must remain on the DL and is no longer eligible to play in minor-league games because the 20-day window has expired but he will not be reinstated to the 25-man roster. The Yankees may petition Major League Baseball for an additional rehab assignment for Rodriguez due to this new injury.

In 13 minor-league games for four Yankees farm clubs, Rodriguez batted a combined .200 with one double, two home runs, eight RBI, one walk and 12 strikeouts in 40 at-bats.

Yanks lose 5th straight and Teixeira

The Yankees expected to get a big jolt this month with the return from the disabled list of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis. Yet one day after Youkilis went back on the DL with a recurring lumbar ailment, Teixeira came out of Saturday’s game against the Angels in the fourth inning because of stiffness in his right wrist.

Teixeira flied out to right field and fouled out to third base in his two at-bats. David Adams took over at first base in the bottom of the fourth. Yanks manager Joe Girardi told Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on the FOX telecast that Teixeira could not get much snap from his wrist in his swing and will return to New York to be examined by Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees’ team physician.

The fear is that Teixeira may have suffered the same sort of setback that Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista did last year when he sustained a torn sheath in his wrist and aggravated it later in a game against the Yankees and was lost for the rest of the season. Teixeira’s condition this year is much the same as Bautista’s was in 2012.

Teixeira barely got untracked for the Yankees. In 15 games, he was hitting .151 with one double, three home runs and 12 RBI in 53 at-bats. He was particularly ineffective batting left-handed, as he did Saturday, with only three hits in 35 at-bats (.082) with two home runs and eight RBI. If Teixeira needs to go back on the DL, he would be the third regular to do a second stint, following Youkilis and Curtis Granderson.

The Yanks’ June swoon continued with a 6-2 loss, their fifth straight defeat and the fourth game in a row in which they scored just two runs. The Yankees have scored in only three of their past 38 innings. They got all their runs in one inning again Saturday with two out in the third on a single by Chris Stewart, a triple by Brett Gardner and a single by Jayson Nix. The 3-4-5 hitters came up 0-for-11 to continue a disturbing trend of low production from the middle of the order. Five Angels pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

The Angels banged out 12 hits against three Yankees pitchers, including three more hits plus a walk by Yankee killer Howie Kendrick, who raised his career average against them to .354 in 198 at-bats. David Phelps (4-4) gave up a home run to Eric Aybar, who later singled home a run in the sixth that unlocked a 2-2 score. Shawn Kelley had an unusual streak of wildness (three walks) in a two-run Angels seventh. Even slumping Josh Hamilton (.213) contributed an RBI double. Joba Chamberlain was victimized by a two-out single in the eighth by Albert Pujols for his second RBI of the game.

Ichiro Suzuki was the bright light for the Yankees Saturday with two hits, two stolen bases (and should have had a third if not for an umpire’s missed call) and two tumbling catches in right field. However, when Ichiro stole second and third in the seventh inning he was left stranded as Thomas Neal, Reid Brignac and Stewart all struck out. The Yankees are 7-for-39 (.179) with runners in scoring position and are averaging three runs per game during the losing streak.

The Yankees’ record in June fell to 6-8 as their offense continues to decline. They hit .261 as a team in April, .233 in May and are at .212 in June while slugging merely .327. The slide finds the Yankees only one game out of fourth place in the American League East. They will turn to CC Sabathia on Father’s Day to try and save face on the final day of the trip.

Mo vows to pitch again

What did I say Thursday night? I doubted very much that Mariano Rivera would want to call it a career after tearing the ACL in his right knee falling awkwardly on the warning track at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. That was precisely what Mo told reporters in the visitors’ clubhouse Friday.

“I’m coming back,” he said. “Write it down in big letters. I’m not going out like this.”

OK, Mo. Here it is: “I’M NOT GOING OUT LIKE THIS.”

Rivera essentially channeled Douglas MacArthur by telling Yankees fans, “I will return,” the same message the general gave his troops in the Philippines during World War II.

Mo had an agonizing night in his hotel room ruminating over the freak injury that will likely shelve him for the remainder of the 2012 season. The more he tossed and turned, the more he realized that leaving a major-league career while sitting on a cart transporting him off the field was not the way the greatest closing reliever in history wanted the curtain to fall.

“I love to play the game, and I don’t think to me going out like this is the right way,” Rivera said.

He plans to stay with the team for the KC series that ends Sunday and will meet Monday in New York with Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees’ team physician. Rivera acknowledged that in addition to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) the meniscus was also torn. Anticipating surgery, Rivera added, “Everything is going to be fixed.”

Rivera is in the final season of his contract and told writers this spring that he had decided when he would retire but was not ready to reveal it. Now it is clear that he expects to come back in 2013.

Jeter loses plea to stay off DL

Derek Jeter tried to plead his case against going on the 15-day disabled list but eventually lost. After a pre-game meeting among team officials, including team physician Chris Ahmad, the Yankees placed Jeter on the DL and recalled infielder Ramiro Pena from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Jeter came out of the Yankees’ 1-0 loss to the Indians Monday night after an at-bat in the fifth inning and went to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center for an MRI that revealed a grade 1 strain of the right calf. Jeter admitted that he felt the calf giving him problems as he ran off the field prior to his fifth inning at-bat. “I tried to stretch it out while waiting on deck,” he said.

As he broke out of the box on his flyout to right field, Jeter felt a twinge and ran gingerly down the first base line trying to avoid a strain. It didn’t work. Derek thought he had a charley horse.

Before seeing Dr. Ahmad prior to Tuesday night’s scheduled game against the Rangers, Jeter said the area felt the way it does when he is hit by a pitch. “I’ve been hit by pitches a lot, so I know,” he said.

Jeter naturally wanted no part of the DL. The only time he ever spent on it was in the first month of the 2003 season after that infamous collision at Toronto with Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby.

“I guess the timing wasn’t very good,” Jeter said, referring to his being only six hits away from 3,000 for his career. “I know a lot of people were hoping for the opportunity to see that happen here. I feel bad about that.”

That was not the concern of manager Joe Girardi. He had the precedent of Alex Rodriguez being out for 14 games last year from Aug. 20 to Sept. 5 because of a similar injury. The Yankees did not place A-Rod on the DL immediately, and he aggravated the condition when he tried to play. Instead of being lost for a few days, Rodriguez eventually was down for two weeks.

That is the scenario Girardi hoped to avoid with Jeter, particularly since the Yankees’ next six games after this homestand ends Thursday are inter-league games at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark where National League rules don’t permit the use of the designated hitter rule. That puts more of a premium on a thicker bench.

The Yankees already have another player, catcher Russell Martin, down with a quirky back.

“Derek believes that he can be back within a week’s time,” Girardi said. “The issue with me is what if he isn’t ready to come back in a week, tries to play and hurts it again and is out longer. It’s a matter of what’s best for Derek versus what’s best for the team.”

The ultimate decision may prove best for both. Jeter will have time to heal properly from the injury, and the Yankees can have a full, healthy roster for the games in NL parks. Pena will be used in a utility role with Eduardo Nunez playing regularly at shortstop while Jeter is out. On occasions when Girardi wants to rest Rodriguez or use him as the DH, Nunez will move to third base and Pena will play shortstop.

Brett Gardner was to bat in Jeter’s leadoff spot Tuesday night. He started the season leading off against right-handed starters with Jeter in the 2-hole. Against lefties, Jeter led off and Gardner was at the bottom of the order. Girardi will use Gardner again leading off against righthanders but probably not against lefthanders.

The Yankees will face left-handed starters Wednesday night and Thursday. Girardi mentioned Curtis Granderson, who has hit lefties well this year (.282, 9 home runs, 19 RBI in 71 at-bats), as a possibility. Another choice might be switch hitter Nick Swisher, who is batting .221 overall but .339 with a .429 on-base percentage against left-handed pitching.

So Jeter’s quest for 3,000 hits will be put on hold while the Yankees learn to live without their captain for the time being.

‘I’m all right, Doc’

I was kidding earlier in the week when I suggested that Alex Rodriguez would cancel a visit to his hip surgeon after he hit two home runs in a game at Tropicana Field and followed that with four hits in the 15-inning game at Camden Yards.

Well, it turns out that A-Rod did cancel his doctor’s appointment. After all, nothing the doctor could say would make Rodriguez feel better than breaking out of a cold spell at the plate. He kept it up Friday night with a double to right-center off the Mets’ R.A. Dickey leading off the second inning.

The Yankees eventually loaded the bases with two outs as Jorge Posada walked and Nick Swisher was hit by a pitch, but they came away empty as Brett Gardner grounded into a forceout at third base.

Speaking of doctors, outfielder Curtis Dickerson reacted well to memory tests two days after he was beaned in Baltimore and is day-to-day. Phil Hughes was to be examined by team physician Chris Ahmad and could throw off a mound sometime this week.

Late-inning woes continue

As I pointed out last week, the Yankees have had a disturbing habit of folding offensively in the latter innings of games. They followed suit again Monday night in a 6-5 loss to the Rays in the first game of the season between the two American League East contenders. Tampa Bay pulled out to a three-game lead over the Yankees, who are now just one game above the .500 level.

The Yankees’ losing streak reached six games, the longest since Joe Girardi became manager in 2008 and the longest since a seven-game slide in 2007 (April 20-27).

The Yankees did some very good things, not the least of which was to rough up David Price, against whom they scored all their runs, including three on Curtis Granderson’s 14th home run and seventh off a lefthander. The Yanks made Price work and got his pitch count to 98.

Now the Yankees were into the Tampa Bay bullpen, which entering the season was considered a team weakness. It has not turned out that way perhaps because manager Joe Maddon has not had to tax his relievers as Rays starters have consistently provided length (an average of 6 1/3 innings per start). The Rays’ pen lowered its collective ERA to 3.12 with four scoreless innings Monday night.

After Robinson Cano’s leadoff single in the sixth, the Yankees went 0-for-12 the rest of the way against three Tampa Bay relievers. The game got away from the Yanks in the bottom of the sixth when A.J. Burnett squandered a 5-1 lead by giving up five runs and five hits, two of them homers. It marked the second straight game that a Yankees starter coughed up a sizeable lead, which can be dangerous considering the team’s lack of offensive consistency in late innings.

As for the Yankees’ bullpen, eighth-inning specialist Rafael Soriano, back at Tropicana Field against the team for which he led the AL in saves (45) last year, was not available. He will return to New York to be examined Tuesday by team physician Chris Ahmad. Soriano is still bothered by right elbow tightness, which the Yankees hope will not require a stint on the disabled list.

Smilin’ Yanks tame Royals

Freddy Garcia climbed back onto the bike Tuesday night after bumpy outings in his two previous starts. The righthander some help from his defense, not to mention some over-aggressive base running by the Royals.

The Yankees were aware Kansas City likes to run (44 stolen bases), which became evident right away when Chris Getz swiped third base with two outs in the first inning. Garcia stranded him there by retiring Billy Butler on a ground ball to shortstop.

The Royals ran themselves out of a potential rally in the third inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Treanor, Garcia made a nice play to glove a sacrifice attempt by Alcides Escobar. Treanor, a catcher, wandered off first base and was thrown out trying to steal second by Garcia. Getz reached base with two out and also was gunned down trying to advance on a ball in the dirt but Russell Martin recovered nicely to get an out at second base.

Melky Cabrera’s home run off a 2-0 pitch leading off the fourth ensured that a Royals player would navigate his way around the bases without incident and tied the game at 1. Garcia gave up back-to-back, one-out singles to Mike Aviles and Treanor in the fifth but escaped damage with a strikeout looking of Escobar and then watched right fielder Nick Swisher skid across the grass to make a run-saving grab of a low liner by Getz.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi allowed Garcia to start the seventh (he had pitched into the eighth his last time out), but after Jeff Francoeur singled and Eric Hosmer walked made the move to the bullpen. David Robertson retired Aviles on a routine fly ball but walked Treanor to fill the bases. After a conference on the mound with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Robertson came back to strike out Escobar and Getz.

It was a key moment for the Yankees because usual eighth-inning reliever Rafael Soriano was not available because of a sore right elbow. He met with team physician Chris Ahmad before the game and is scheduled for an MRI Wednesday.

Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera finished off the 3-1 victory rather nicely to guarantee that Garcia, who lowered his ERA to 2.61, would even his record at 2-2. He has been a terrific addition to the staff. And before you get the idea that the Royals were some kind of pushovers out there, consider that they went into the game with a team batting average 15 points higher than the Yankees’.

This one finished with smiles all around, especially after Rivera made a Gold Glove stop of a hard grounder by Aviles and started a game-ending double play. Mo’s grin was particularly ear-to-ear as he notched his 13th save.

There were smiles, too, for Derek Jeter, who had his third straight multi-hit game and knocked in the Yankees’ first run with a two-out single in the third, and Alex Rodriguez, who unlocked a 1-1 score with a bases-loaded single in the fifth, also after two were out. After going eight games without driving in a run, A-Rod has three RBI in the past two games.