Yankees nearing return of high-strikeout relief pitcher

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, tommy kahnle
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Despite being shorthanded in the bullpen, the Yankees currently boast the best ERA in baseball at 2.21. Pitching coach Matt Blake has been adept at uncovering value in lesser-known pitchers. However, the team is anticipating reinforcements, with 34-year-old Tommy Kahnle progressing well in his recovery from a shoulder injury.

Kahnle, who recently resumed his rehab assignment with Single-A Tampa, experienced a setback a few weeks ago when his shoulder issue flared up again, delaying his return. Despite this, he reports significant improvement and optimism about his recovery. “I feel good so far,” Kahnle remarked after a session at the club’s complex in Tampa via the New York Post. “I would say after one more [outing], the stuff is probably there. But the rest is just getting back into a groove.”

Kahnle’s Road to Recovery and Impact With the Yankees

After feeling discomfort the day following his throw, Kahnle took a brief pause. “The next day, I threw and it didn’t feel great,” he explained. “So I was like, ‘Great, it’s back.’ So I took five days off and then started throwing and it’s been great since. I think I beat it before it got worse.” Kahnle is eligible to return before May 27, providing a hopeful timeline for his comeback.

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle
Feb 17, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle (41) throws during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Kahnle inked a two-year, $11.5 million deal with the Yankees, set to expire after this season. He pitched 40.2 innings, achieving a 2.66 ERA, 10.62 strikeouts per nine, an 82.1% left-on-base rate, and a notable 49% ground ball rate. His proficiency in high-leverage situations was a significant asset to the bullpen.

The return of Kahnle will be a crucial enhancement for the Yankees’ bullpen strength. Moreover, the team anticipates the return of Lou Trivino and Scott Effross over the summer, who are expected to bolster the bullpen akin to acquiring new players at the trade deadline.

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