To DH or not DH? It’s the “to be or not to be” debate of our times.
And it’s back again after Masahiro Tanaka went on the 10-day disabled list Saturday, having strained both hamstrings while running the bases for the Yankees against the Mets on Friday night.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tanaka will be out for “weeks” with the injuries. Earlier this season, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz of the Mets missed time after getting injured while swinging the bat.
The Yankees know all about this topic; they lost then-ace Chien-Ming Wang to a foot injury suffered while running the bases in Houston in 2008. Wang was never the same after that.
The sixth-inning run Tanaka scored on a sacrifice fly was important to Friday night’s 4-1 win — it was the tying run — but it was not worth the loss of the Yankees’ No. 2 starter. But the Yankees don’t think Tanaka’s injury is anywhere near as serious as Wang’s.
Boone admitted that he has been a proponent of the leagues maintaining their separate character. That was in his role as a broadcaster. As manager of the Yankees, he would like to see pitchers batting go the way of the rotary phone.
“I would,” Boone said. “A little hypocritical on that aspect because I’ve always been a fan of both and that’s kind of been my stance. But being here where I am now, especially with our team being set up to have a DH, yeah, I’d love that.”
Mickey Callaway, who pitched for three American League teams in a five-year career, went 2-for-3 as a hitter. But he agrees the thrill of seeing a pitcher doing something unexpected with the bat is not worth the risk.
“I think the National League’s a wonderful game,” Callaway said. “Really great. The only thing is there’s more risk on the pitcher of an injury when you’re asking them to go up there and hit.”
Any change to the DH rule would have to be negotiated with the players’ union, and commissioner Rob Manfred has said he is in favor of keeping the rules the way they are. So it’s unlikely to change just because three of New York’s top pitchers have been injured on the offensive side of the ball this season.
“It’s just the way the chessboard is set and that’s life in the big city,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We certainly wish we could avoid it, but those [issues] are obviously for owners to deal with.”
With Erik Boland