After leaving the Yankees’ game against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, a CT-scan revealed that reliever Andrew Miller suffered a chip fracture in his right wrist, according to Jack Curry of YES Network.
Miller will see a hand specialist tomorrow to determine what the left-hander’s next step should be. Curry adds that the Yankees will not know if Miller needs to start the year on the disabled list (DL) until then. Two encouraging signs are that the injury is to Miller’s non-throwing arm and the initial X-rays came back negative.
In the seventh inning of Tuesday’s contest in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, a line drive off the bat of Willians Astudillo struck Miller on the right arm. He immediately grabbed his right arm and began walking off the field. Several reporters, including Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, noted that Miller was visibly upset, throwing his hat to the ground in frustration.
“If I had to pick a spot to get hit, it would be on my right arm,” Miller told Billy Witz of the New York Times after the game. “It’s a lot better than my legs or my other hand. In regard to the injury causing Miller to miss Opening Day, he said: “It better not. I’m assuming it won’t unless something flares up.”
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Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi told YES Network after the game that Miller had a “substantial bruise” on his arm but wasn’t sure of its severity. If Miller’s ailing wrist requires a DL stint, the Yankees will start the 2016 season without two key parts of their bullpen.
Prized offseason acquisition Aroldis Chapman will miss the first 30 games of the season due to a suspension stemming from an offseason domestic dispute. The hard-throwing lefty allegedly assaulted his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots in the garage of their Davie, Florida, home last October. The soon-to-be 28-year-old has admitted to firing gunshots but denied assaulting his girlfriend.
According to police records obtained by Yahoo! Sports, no arrests were made “due to conflicting stories and a lack of cooperation from all parties involved.”
Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement includes a domestic violence policy in which a violator is subject to penalty under the commissioner’s discretion; Chapman was a prime candidate to be the first player ever punished under the policy.
“After reviewing the staff report, I found Mr. Chapman’s acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate under the negotiated Policy, particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner,” said commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement. “I am gratified that Mr. Chapman has taken responsibility for his conduct, that he has agreed not to appeal the 30-game suspension, and that he has agreed to comply with the confidential directives of the Joint Policy Board established under the parties’ Policy to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.”
Despite prior reports stating otherwise, Chapman decided not to appeal the suspension. He will be eligible to return on Monday, May 9, for the first game of a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, the defending World Series champions.
Until Chapman’s return, Miller was expected to reprise his role from last year as the Yankees’ closer. However, if he both he and Chapman are unable to pitch, fellow hard-thrower Dellin Betances will serve as the Yankees’ closer. The 28-year-old Betances has closing experience himself, as he saved nine games for the team last year. A former two-time American League (AL) All-Star, Betances was set to be the Yankees’ closer before the team signed Miller to a three-year deal prior to last season.
Miller wasn’t the only reliever to suffer an injury on Wednesday, as swingman Bryan Mitchell suffered a sprained left big toe covering first base (via Hoch). GM Brian Cashman confirmed that Mitchell — who was has made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster — will undergo an MRI.
With the Yankees’ season-opener against the Houston Astros just a few days away, the team could start 2016 with a depleted bullpen.
[Featured Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]