During the 2021 season, the New York Yankees have suffered blow after blow in their bullpen. Darren Oâ€™Day and Zack Britton are out for the season with long-term injuries, pitchers like Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes have been out with COVID-19, Aroldis Chapman hasnâ€™t looked right in months, and Chad Green appears to have hit a wall in recent outings.
The unit is so decimated that Yankeesâ€™ manager Aaron Boone opted to leave Holmes for two innings to lock down a save yesterday, a decision that ended up backfiring.
Perhaps the best reliever on the Yankees in 2021 has been Jonathan Loaisiga, and he has been out since early September with a right shoulder strain, an injury that affected his rotator cuff.
The rotator cuff is the single most important body part for a pitcher, and the most feared injury for them, so the Yankees are obviously concerned. Thankfully, tests and imaging showed that the ailment is just a strain.
The Yankees expect Loaisiga back this month
Loaisiga, whose expected return date is sometime in September, will begin a throwing program on Sept. 17, after making progress in his rehab, according to manager Aaron Boone (link to MLB.com article here).
â€œWeâ€™ll see how he does with starting his throwing program,â€ Boone said, â€œand how he progresses from there, how his shoulder and everything responds from there.â€
A return this week seems out of the question, but if everything goes well and he suffers no setbacks, there is a scenario in which Loaisiga returns to the Yankees in late September to help the team protect crucial advantages in the last few games of the regular campaign.
Right now, the Yankees are 82-65, half a game behind the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox for the American League Wild Card. From this point on, every game counts, and for that, the Bombers need a healthy Loaisiga.