BALTIMORE – The Yankees’ worst fears were confirmed on Saturday, when they put Michael King on the 60-day injured list with a broken right elbow.
Aaron Boone said he expects King to be out this season.
The righthander sustained the injury when he threw a pitch to Ramon Urias in the eighth inning of Friday-evening’s Yankees victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards. King was in New York on Saturday to undergo tests to determine if there is ligament damage in addition to the fracture.
General manager Brian Cashman declined to say whether King’s injury would affect his thinking as the August 2 trading deadline approaches.
“We continue to review the roster, but King is a very important member of our bullpen,” Cashman said. “Eventually I have from now until August 2.”
To help replace King in the bullpen, the Yankees recalled Clarke Schmidt from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. They also chose Tim Locastro for SWB and signed righthander Shane Greene to a Major League-deal.
Greene, the 34-year old righthander who came up via the Yankees system and pitched for The Bronx in 2014, had also pitched for SWB. He threw one inning on Saturday and gave up a two-run homerun to Urias in the 6-3 loss of the Yankees.
Neither Schmidt nor Greene can replace King, who called Boone “one of the best relievers in all of baseball.”
“He’s so good at the back. It’s definitely a blow we have to take,” said Boone.
At the start of the season, the Yankees’ bullpen was the envy of most of the league, with a strong backend made up of Clay Holmes, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta, and hopes that Aroldis Chapman would return. could come from an ugly 2021.
And then there was depth in the form of Miguel Castro (taken from the Mets in spring practice in exchange for Joely Rodriguez), Lucas Luetge and King.
But the reality has been different – especially lately.
With King out this season, he joins an IL that also includes Green, who is out for a year due to Tommy John surgery, and Castro, who is out indefinitely due to a shoulder injury.
Chapman, while healthy, is no longer effective or reliable. And Loaisiga hasn’t come close to replicating his dynamic 2021 season.
The Yankees are still hoping that Zack Britton, who had elbow surgery last year, will return at some point, but the southpaw’s comeback was once considered a luxury.
To the Yankees’ credit, they’ve proven themselves adept at finding and developing auxiliaries—whether under the radar trades (Holmes and Peralta), minor league deals (Luetge), or their own minor leaguers (Loaisiga and more recently Ron Marinaccio and Albert Abreu).
They will likely need more than a roster change to replace King, not to mention Green and the uncertainty surrounding Britton.