Yankees finally have their best bullpen piece back

yankees, michael king
Mar 3, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Michael King (34) throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the fourth inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees finally got their first look at star bullpen arm Michael King coming off major elbow surgery last year. King missed the second half of the 2022 campaign, meaning he was forced to watch the playoffs from the sidelines. However, he is clearly well on his way to being 100% for Opening Day in late March.

King enjoyed his first outing against the Detroit Tigers on Friday evening, pitching 2.0 innings in relief of Gerrit Cole. He struck out four batters over that sample size, showing off his location and velocity.

“He was carving,” Boone said of King, who wasn’t available for a post-outing interview. “The Michael King you saw last year, that was him. I thought his secondary stuff was really good. Some backdoor sinkers that he threw after the slider … that was really good stuff.”

Via NJ.com.

The Yankees saw the REAL Michael King against the Tigers:

It was great to see King at the top of his game once again, especially after coming off a stellar 2022 campaign. He posted a 2.29 ERA, 2.42 xFIP, 11.65 strikeouts per nine, 77% left-on-base rate, a 47% ground ball rate, and a career-low 9.1% HR/FB ratio across 51 innings.

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King is easily one of the team’s most reliable and electrifying pitchers, so getting him back to full strength is a huge boost for the Yankees. Expect to see him make a few more appearances this spring as he ramps up and continues his throwing program, especially coming off major surgery.

After his performance, Manager Aaron Boone spoke exceptionally highly of King, noting how special it was to do it under the lights.

“Anytime you’re coming back from an injury that knocked you back some significant time with a significant injury, it’s meaningful to get back there in real game action,” Boone said. “Night game under the lights, I think it was quite significant for him and he was great.”