Yankees’ newly returned bullpen arm makes an instant impact

MLB: New York Yankees at Arizona Diamondbacks, nick burdi
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Many were surprised earlier this week when the Yankees optioned Ron Marinaccio to Triple-A, but the move made room for the return of pitcher Nick Burdi from a hip injury that had placed him on the 15-day injured list. Burdi had demonstrated significant potential during spring training and maintained a 0.00 ERA over a limited number of appearances before his injury.

Yankees Reactivate Nick Burdi After Injury

In his first game back, Burdi threw only three pitches before catcher Jose Trevino threw out Isaac Paredes attempting to steal second base, effectively ending the inning. This brief appearance marked the return of one of the Yankees’ most promising new relief pitchers, cultivated by pitching coach Matt Blake.

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 15, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Nick Burdi (57) works out during spring training practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Burdi’s Potential and Role in the Bullpen

Matt Blake has a knack for uncovering value in pitchers that other teams may overlook, and Burdi is a prime example. After struggling with injuries over the past few years, the Yankees have adjusted his pitching mechanics in hopes of keeping him healthy for the remainder of the 2024 season. Remarkably, Burdi, who has never pitched more than 10 innings in a season before this year, is on track to exceed that total soon.

Burdi’s arsenal consists of a high-velocity four-seam fastball and a slider. His fastball averages 97.6 mph and can reach triple digits, holding opposing batters to a .063 average with a 30.6% whiff rate. His slider, while less utilized, has managed a .200 batting average against and is notable for its 11.1 inches of horizontal break, which is 153% better than average.

Despite Ron Marinaccio’s solid performance, the Yankees currently see Burdi as a better fit for their bullpen. However, with Marinaccio having only one minor league option remaining and performing well, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Yankees recalled him in the near future.

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