Yankees lose starting infielder and top bullpen arm to injury

jonathan loaisiga, yankees
Oct 18, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (43) reacts after striking out Cleveland Guardians first baseman Gabriel Arias (not pictured) to end the sixth inning in game five of the ALDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees faced off against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday evening, emerging victorious 4–1, courtesy of a phenomenal starting pitching performance from Jhony Brito.

However, the team announced a bit of bad news before the contest, losing starting infielder Josh Donaldson to a hamstring injury and one of their top bullpen arms, Jonathan Loaisiga, to right elbow information, retroactive to April 6.

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The Yankees can easily replace Josh Donaldson:

Donaldson was placed on the 10-day injured list, but the Yankees are optimistic he can make a return within the next two weeks or so. Donaldson has experienced a slow start to the 2023 season at 37 years old. He’s hitting .125 with a .176 OBP, including one homer over 17 plate appearances.

Unfortunately, his numbers aren’t recovering to his career averages after an awful 2022 season. Donaldson hit .222 with a .308 OBP last year at 36 years old but earning $25 million for the 2023 season, and the Yankees have no choice but to roll with him.

Ideally, general manager Brian Cashman would have found a way to trade Donaldson, but nobody wants an aging outfielder experiencing massive regression with a lofty price tag. The Yankees had Josh starting at third base, but the better strategy may have DJ LeMahieu involved and Gleyber Torres starting at second base on a daily basis.

In the meantime, the Yankees have DJ LeMahieu manning the third base position, in which he’s locked down with excellent defense. LeMahieu is hitting .276 with a .895 OPS, including a homer and three RBIs this season.

Loaisiga, on the other hand, was a surprise move, heading to the 15-day injured list. Right elbow inflammation is certainly an injury that requires caution, but the Bombers want to ensure he’s 100% healthy for the remainder of the season.

Loaisiga experienced three appearances this year, pitching 3.1 innings and hosting a 2.70 ERA. His velocity is down significantly to 97.2 mph, compared to 98.1 last year.

The Yankees need a healthy Johnny, considering he’s one of their more reliable arms, especially when the post-season rolls around. One way or another, letting him recover is essential, even if it takes a few weeks.