Yankees ‘overhauling’ plan to prevent another injury crisis
The Yankees endured a season in which they saw 30 different players head to the injured list for a record 2,433 days lost, and the man in charge of changing that reality, Eric Cressey, has begun his work in his new role.
Cressey, officially named by the team as director of player health and performance on Tuesday, will head to Tampa on Wednesday for the first of five visits to the Yankees’ complex before the start of the regular season.
“We’re in the process of overhauling how we assess players,’’ Cressey said during a conference call.
Cressey, 38, co-founded Cressey Sports Performance, which has facilities in Massachusetts and Florida, and has worked with pitchers such as Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber and Noah Syndergaard. He will continue to head up his practice, meaning his time actually with the team will be somewhat limited.
He said he’d be at Yankee Stadium at least once per homestand, as well as at Fenway Park. It was at Fenway last summer that Cressey made his first real connection with the organization.
Previous director of strength and conditioning Matt Krause was dismissed, as The Post first reported last month, and longtime head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, who began working for the Yankees organization in 1979 and joined the big-league club in 1986, will assume an emeritus role. Tim Lentych will assume the role of head athletic trainer.
“The challenges will be just the sheer number of bodies,’’ Cressey said of his work with the 40-man roster, as well as the effort to implement his systems throughout the minor league teams. “We’re gonna work really hard to roll this out at a high level on the major league side. The goal also, is not just there, but to outlay it for 200-plus minor league players.’’
The Yankees hope it results in fewer injuries and rehab setbacks, such as the one that limited Luis Severino to a dozen regular-season innings last season after injuries to his shoulder and lat.
During Severino’s recovery, GM Brian Cashman said he was going through a “CSI: The Bronx” process of determining what issues the organization had with injuries.
“I’ve gone through the process and I’ll leave it at that,’’ Cashman said in June while the team was in London. “We always evaluate our processes. If there [are] gaps or problems or mistakes made by us, then they are dealt with.”
So far, Cressey said he and his group have been in touch with J.A. Happ and Adam Ottavino, as well as some rehabbing pitchers, and with Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit.
He’s also heard from Giancarlo Stanton, whose 2019 was derailed by a multitude of injuries.
Cressey said he tries to marry new technology and techniques and will “lean on Steve [Donohue] for getting adjusted to the world of professional baseball.’’
As for remaining with his business, Cressey said he wondered about that himself, but noted the precedent set by hitting coaches, as well as Kyle Boddy, who still runs his Driveline Baseball even as he works for the Reds.
The Yankees also announced their coaching staff under third-year manager Aaron Boone. New pitching coach Matt Blake, who worked with Cressey in Massachusetts, is the most prominent addition, replacing Larry Rothschild, who is now with San Diego.
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