The New York Yankees‘ injury woes took a few weeks off, but they have once again entered the fold. Relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle felt a tweak in his arm after pitching against the Nationals on Opening Day weekend.
The next day at training, Kahnle felt tightness in his right elbow and proceeded to receive an MRI. According to manager Aaron Boone on July 31, Kahnle was placed on the 10-day injured list, and the MRI revealed a right ulnar collateral ligament injury.
The relief pitcher’s only appearance was in the third game of the season when he worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam and allowed just one hit and one walk. He struck out three batters in the inning. The Yankees went on to win 3-2 against Washington.
According to MLB network Jon Heyman, Yankee Dr. Chris Ahmad performed Tommy John surgery on Kahnle. His recovery is now underway, as it could last from 9 to 12 months. They will likely have to go on without him until the middle of next season, which puts his future in pinstripes in doubt. He will be in the final year of arbitration in 2021, so the Yankees will have to offer him another deal if they wish to keep him around.
In 2019, he posted a 3.67 ERA with 45 hits allowed and 88 strikeouts over 61.1 innings. His impressive performance made him a focal point in the bullpen. The Yankees were excited to begin utilizing him more frequently. This is a huge blow to the bullpen and could spark their interest in relief arms at the trade deadline.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they shopped around one of their alternate left-fielders. Boone has been deploying a trio of options, consisting of Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, Miguel Andujar, and has Clint Frazier at the alternative training site. Boone stated that Frazier is 100% ready for MLB action, but the situation just doesn’t allow him to compete. He could be fantastic trade bait for a bullpen arm if they wish to go that route.