Yankees have big plans for oft-injured bullpen arm

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
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With all eyes on Gerrit Cole and his timetable for return, the New York Yankees are still trying to formulate a strategy in the starting rotation and bullpen entering the 2024 regular season. Cole will miss at least 1-2 months, but he isn’t expected to miss the full year, which is great news for a Yankee team that desperately needed him to stay healthy.

In the bullpen, the team is excited about the idea of leveraging Jonathan Loaisiga in a new role. The plan is to utilize Loaisiga as a multi-inning reliever during the first half of the season, giving him two days between appearances to rest.

The Yankees Are Replacing Michael King’s Role

The Yankees essentially feel that we can replace the Michael King role from 2023, but the 29-year-old has been injury-prone over the past few years, pitching only 17.2 innings in 2023 and 48 innings in 2022. He’s made one appearance this spring, tossing 1.2 innings against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, giving up one earned run and three hits. Of course, this was the first outing of the spring, so it is fair to give him a bit of slack with his production.

“It’s a good strategy to try to make sure that I stay healthy,” Loáisiga said. “It’s a benefit to me, and a benefit for the team as a whole. I think it’s going to work out.”

Fortunately, Loaisiga hasn’t seen much of a drop in velocity, hovering around 98 mph. When healthy, he’s one of the team’s best pitchers, and he reflected that back in 2021 when he posted a 2.17 ERA over 70.2 innings pitched.

In a perfect world, Loaisiga would remain healthy and offer the same value the Yankees got from King, which would go a long way toward supporting the starting rotation and quelling any concerns of injury.

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