The Yankees have so many players injured, resting, rehabbing and healing that it's difficult even for their GM to keep track of it all. In case you've forgotten, the Yankees have six players on the 60-day disabled list (Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Francisco Cervelli, Michael Pineda and Cesar Cabral), five on the 15-day DL (Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova, Eduardo Nunez, Kevin Youkilis and Joba Chamberlain) and two, Chris Stewart and Hiroki Kuroda, who are banged-up and listed as day-to-day.
But after a half-hour chat with Brian Cashman on Thursday, this is what I have been able to piece together:
-- Ivan Nova, on the DL since April 27 with what was originally right triceps soreness but later became either an oblique injury or a neck problem -- not even Cashman was quite sure -- is the closest Yankee to returning to the active roster, probably right after the team gets back from this weekend's three-game series in Tampa.
-- Youkilis (lumbar spine sprain) and Chamberlain (oblique) are said to be "neck-and-neck" in their recovery process and should join the team a couple of days after Nova, meaning probably the second half of next week.
-- Nunez (sore left ribcage) is slightly behind Youk and Joba but could make it back before the end of the month.
-- Teixeira is not eligible to come off the 60-day DL until May 31, and Cashman is hopeful he will be back with the club soon afterward.
-- Pettitte (trapezius strain) was scheduled to play catch today, although Cashman did not have an update. Still, Andy is probably 10 days away at least since he needs to make at least one and probably two rehab starts before being recalled.
-- Pineda, who is now suddenly closer to the major leagues than Jesus Montero, has two more scheduled outings in extended spring training before beginning his 30-day rehab assignment, which means he could theoretically be pitching for the Yankees by the end of June. But as the GM pointed out, he has to be pitching well enough in rehab to unseat someone already in the starting rotation.
-- Cabral (stress fracture in left elbow) is more than a week into his 30-day rehab assignment and must be activated on or around June 15, or put on waivers. So we might see him at Yankee Stadium before Old-Timer's Day.
-- Rodriguez is running, hitting in the cage and taking fielding drills but is still a full spring training, and then some, away from coming back. Sounds like August at the earliest.
-- Jeter and Cervelli are still in the healing process and aren't doing anything baseball-related yet. Jeter's "after the All-Star break" prognosis could mean anywhere from mid-July to sometime in September, and right now it's truly impossible to predict when, or if, he will be ready this year. Assuming his broken hand is healing normally, Cervelli should be back sometime in July.
One guy not on the list but who many have asked me about is Chien-Ming Wang, currently toiling for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. At this point, he is not headed to Yankee Stadium under any circumstances. Currently, he is 2-4 with a 3.07 ERA in Scranton, has allowed 49 hits in 44 innings, and according to eyewitnesses, has shown nothing to indicate he belongs on the Yankees' pitching staff. He has an out in his contract if he is not promoted to the major leagues by June 1. Expect him to exercise it.