Yankees nearing Anthony Rizzo return, bullpen trade acquisition start rehab

Alexander Wilson
scott effross, yankees
Aug 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Scott Effross (59) pitches the ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are quickly getting healthier, representing perfect timing after winning eight of their last 10 games. They have spent the last few weeks without two primary infielders, Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu. Both are expected to return soon, with Rizzo potentially suiting up over the weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Rizzo last featured on August 30, hitting consecutive homers in his final two games before being shut down due to lower back issues. He received an epidural that caused headaches, forcing him to bed rest last week.

Luckily, Rizzo seems to be back to full health and is simply ramping up alongside another returning player, bullpen acquisition Scott Effross.

The Yankees haven’t had Effross for quite some time:

Effross was acquired at the trade deadline for the Chicago Cubs, producing a 2.66 ERA with Chicago over 44 innings. With the Yankees, he has a 3.24 ERA over 8.1 innings, seeing a slight degradation in pitch quality but a slight increase in fastball velocity. Effross is arbitration eligible in 2025, meaning the Yankees have years of control over him before he begins to make substantial money.

Effross has been dealing with a shoulder injury that has sidelined him for a few weeks. On Friday, he will participate in a live batting session against Rizzo, the first time he’s tossed the ball since hitting the injured list.

This is a great sign for the Yankees, who are about to get back their starting first baseman and a key bullpen arm for the playoffs. On the year, Rizzo is hitting .225 with a 34% on-base rate, including 30 homers and 71 RBIs. His strikeout rate has bubbled to 19%, the highest in his career, but he’s walking at an 11.2% clip. He features of 136 wRC+, indicating he’s 36% better than the average MLB player.

In his absence, utilityman Marwin Gonzalez has primarily featured at first, giving the Yankees a lefty bat and a decent enough glove to hold things over until Rizzo’s return.

Luckily, the Yankees don’t have to wait much longer.