Yankees News: Great injury update as bullpen arm nears return

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga
Feb 23, 2020; Port Charlotte, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (43) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are facing a bit of adversity in the bullpen, especially with Ron Marinaccio going down with “dead arm” this past weekend after the first game of a doubleheader against Cleveland. Marinaccio has been phenomenal for the Bombers over the past few weeks, posting a 0.00 ERA in June, allowing just one hit over 11 innings pitched.

However, with his loss, the Yankees called back up Clarke Schmidt to help supplement fatigue. Reinforcements are on the way, though, with Jonathan Loáisiga having started a rehabilitation assignment this past week.

Loáisiga pitched for single-A Tampa on Saturday after throwing 25 pitches in a live batting practice session on Tuesday. Things went well for the 27-year-old relief pitcher, meaning he will take the next step in a return.

“He’ll probably do another one or two (minor league rehab games) with either Somerset or Scranton,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday, per the Daily News’ Kristie Ackert.

The Yankees need much more out of the experienced relief arm:

Loáisigahas struggled this season, featuring a 7.02 ERA over 16.2 innings pitched. Loáisiga is using his sinker more than ever at 59.1%, up from 54.9%. However, opposing hitters are recording a .333 average against it.

So far, his sinker remains his worst pitch, getting far more efficiency out of his curveball and change-up. He’s given up 13 hits and two homers with his snker, which he’s using far more than any pitch.

While Coach Matt Blake has done a tremendous job with the bullpen and starting rotation, some pictures are struggling to adapt. He’s injected a more potent sinker and cutter into the mix, but Loaisiga is having a bit of trouble.

Even last season, opposing batters were hitting .252 against his sinker, which he threw 54.9% of the time. His spin rate is a bit down this year, but he’s generating a 23.8% WHIFF rate, up from 17.5% last year.

The hope is that Loáisiga can make a full recovery and contribute the rest of the way significantly. With the All-Star break coming up, Loáisiga has plenty of time to get back into the groove and prepare for the second half of the season. However, the Yankees need a much better version of Loáisiga, especially down the stretch.

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