Yankees lose trusted multi-inning reliever for 2024 season due to elbow injury

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga
Sep 30, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (38) walks off of the field after the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees knew to anticipate the worst when they found out that Jonathan Loaisiga had severely strained his forearm, and those nightmares have become reality. After being placed on the 60-day IL with a right flexor strain, the right-hander will undergo surgery that will knock him out of the next 10-12 months, which eliminates him from potentially returning during the 2024 season. After completing four scoreless innings in Houston and Arizona to open the season, the hard-throwing right-hander experienced elbow discomfort, and testing revealed serious forearm damage.

Usually, when you hear about a flexor strain and immediately see a player placed on the 60-day IL, you think of the dreaded Tommy John Surgery, and while Meredith Marakovits hasn’t detailed the exact surgery, the timeframe reported indicates it’s some form of elbow reconstruction surgery.

UPDATE: Bryan Hoch confirms that it’s an elbow surgery to reconstruct a torn UCL, as told to him by Loaisiga himself.

Jonathan Loaisiga Out For Season, Yankees Lose Another Bullpen Arm

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Sep 3, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (43) celebrates after a play during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Losing Jonathan Loaisiga stings, as the New York Yankees were hoping to utilize him in a multi-inning relief role to place less of a strain on his arm, but he finds himself out for the year. There’s nothing one can do about a torn UCL, one day that tendon is intact, and just a pitch later you can find yourself out of baseball for over a year. Seeing that the hard-throwing right-hander is a free agent after the season, this complicates his long-term future and could spell the end of his tenure in the Bronx.

We’ve seen the Yankees steer away from paying relievers, and it’s hard to imagine that they’d pay top dollar for an arm that has constantly suffered elbow injuries over the past few seasons. Since the start of the 2023 campaign, Loaisiga has tossed just 22.2 innings, appearing in 20 games and struggling to stay on the mound. His effectiveness is unquestioned, few pitchers are masters of generating groundballs at the level that he is, but a 2.49 ERA isn’t as valuable when you’re not able to pitch enough.

jonathan loaisiga, yankees
Apr 5, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (43) delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an unfortunate injury to one of the most talented pitchers in any bullpen, as the right-hander has always flashed excellent velocity and a deep array of pitches. Alas, this injury ends his season prematurely and puts the Yankees in an interesting position. They called up Dennis Santana to replace Loaisiga, but their bridge to the ninth inning is weakened by not having a multi-inning weapon who can keep the ball on the ground and efficiently put hitters away in high-leverage situations.

The Yankees have had a ton of trust in him since he broke out back in 2021, but this could be the nail in the coffin for his time in New York.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: