More tests scheduled for Nady's elbow
Until more is known, Yankees give Robertson roster spot
NEW YORK -- Amidst all the pomp and all the grandeur of the home opener at the new Yankee Stadium, the home team also received a sobering dose of reality. When manager Joe Girardi awoke on Thursday morning, he did so with the knowledge that he may be without Xavier Nady for the foreseeable future.
Nady had X-rays taken on his sore right elbow prior to Thursday's game, and team doctors were undecided enough about the results to schedule a CT scan for Friday morning. The Yankees plan on discussing that scan, along with Nady's previously taken MRI and X-rays, with Dr. Lewis Yocum before deciding whether Nady will need surgery to repair damage to the elbow.
The exact nature of Nady's injury, at this point, remains unknown.
"I wish I knew," Nady said. "I'm trying to stay as positive as I can. It's a frustrating process, but if there's any hope that it will be a shorter period than having surgery, it would be a good end result."
In the interim, the Yankees placed Nady on the disabled list on Thursday, recalling right-handed reliever David Robertson.
Without knowing whether Nady's injury is serious enough to warrant a stay on the 60-day disabled list, the Yankees instead placed him on the 15-day DL, forcing them to keep him on the 40-man roster. The Yankees do not have another inactive outfielder on the 40-man roster, which explains their decision to recall a reliever instead.
Robertson was 4-0 with a 5.34 ERA in 30 1/3 innings for the Yankees last season, and he struck out three batters in two shutout innings on Thursday in his first game back with the team.
If the Yankees do ultimately transfer Nady to the 60-day DL, they would likely call up a position player to take his place.
"We've got a little bit of time to figure out what we're going to do," Girardi said.
The hope, at this point, is that Nady may still be able to avoid surgery, keeping alive any chance that he may play again this year. And the fact that the Yankees have now ordered three different tests is giving Nady optimism that he may indeed be able to do so.
"I guess with the fact that they want to do another test, there's some hope there," Girardi said.
Nady suffered the injury in the seventh inning of Tuesday's win over the Rays, feeling a sharp pain in his right elbow after making a routine throw back to the infield. In 2001, he had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on the same arm.
"I went through that surgery before," Nady said. "I'd like to avoid it myself. It's no fun."
What the Yankees know right now is that in Nady's absence, Nick Swisher will take over the everyday duties in right field. From time to time, Melky Cabrera may spell Swisher, just as Cabrera will sub for Brett Gardner in center. And Cody Ransom is capable of playing any outfield spot in a pinch.
But until further notice, Swisher is the Yankees' starting right fielder.
It's a bittersweet promotion for Swisher, who became fast friends with Nady after the two met during Spring Training. Showing off a black 'X' that he imprinted on his left forearm, Swisher recalled prior to Thursday's game how the circumstances in Tampa, Fla. -- during which he and Nady for a starting gig -- actually brought the two closer together. Swisher knows that whatever opportunity he gained now has come at the expense of a friend.
"We were talking about losing a tremendous player," Swisher said. "He's not only a tremendous player, but he's an awesome guy. He's a great guy in the clubhouse -- a great friend -- and he's going to be missed."
And now Swisher's production, magnificent through one week of the season, will become even more important. The Yankees are already playing without one of the game's best hitters, Alex Rodriguez, and now must press on without one of their starting outfielders. If Swisher can continue to produce as he has this past week -- he entered Friday with a .406 average, four home runs and 11 RBIs -- then that shouldn't be a problem.
But it's not an easy pace to keep.
"You can look at it as, pressure's what you put on yourself," Swisher said. "Or you can look at it as, pressure's what you put in your tires. For me, hey, I love what I do. I absolutely love it, and it shows. Every opportunity that I get out there, I want to go do my best. Some days, you're going to have it, some days you're not. But every day is a day for me where I want to continue to get better."
Swisher doubled in four at-bats in his debut at the new Yankee Stadium, an event he had been anticipating for some time. More important to the Yankees is how he and the rest of the team are able to christen this new park over the next six months or so.
"It's a storybook, fellas," Swisher said. "Let's hope it has a storybook ending."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.