Yankees now down 4 key bullpen arms at start of 2024 season

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are gearing up for their home opener on Friday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays, but they were hit with some bad news: bullpen arm Jonathan Loaisiga is heading to the 60-day injured list with a right flexor strain.

Despite having one of the best bullpens in the game, the Yankees consistently deal with injury. While they do anticipate getting Loaisiga back at some point this year, the lack of consistency has been difficult to manage in the past.

The Yankees Are Now Down 4 Bullpen Arms

Jonathan Loaisiga:

Flexor strains can sometimes lead to Tommy John surgery, so Loaisiga is certainly hoping to avoid that reality.

The 29-year-old has already dealt with it once in his career and pitched just 17.2 innings last season with shoulder inflammation. He made three appearances to open the 2024 campaign, tossing four scoreless innings and looking as if he was trending in the right direction.

Loaisiga has a difficult road ahead, but for the time being, the Yankees believe he could return in a few months. However, that is barring any further testing, and he may need surgery.

The Yankees had tried to utilize Loaisiga in a multi-inning relief role, giving him more innings but more time between outings. This strategy obviously didn’t work either, and with the veteran heading to the free-agent market after this season, the Yankees will likely move on and rework their strategy.

Tommy Kahnle:

Tommy Kahnle is expected to be a significant piece of the bullpen this season, but he recently had a setback after a live pitching session.

Kahnle was struggling to bounce back, with his shoulder still bothering him. There’s no set timetable for his return, but Kahnle is a high-strikeout arm that can be utilized in high-leverage situations. He pitched 40.2 innings last season, hosting a 2.66 ERA, 10.62 strikeouts per nine, an 82.1 percent left-on-base rate, and a 49% ground ball rate.

The Bombers will love to have them back, but for the time being, they will have to utilize their other options to help supplement his loss.

Lou Trivino:

The Yankees also brought back Lou Trivino on a one-year, $1.5 million deal with a 2025 club option. The 32-year-old is still rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery, and the team expects him to return over the summer around the trade deadline.

Essentially, the Bombers will act as if he’s an acquisition after hosting a 1.66 ERA over 21.2 innings in 2022. Trevino missed all of the 2023 season but looked good donning the pinstripes, so the Yankees feel as though he can be an asset once available.

Scott Effross:

The Yankees might regret acquiring Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs two years ago since he suffered Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2022 season. He missed all of last year and recently underwent a back injury and surgery this winter.

Effross is a solid bullpen arm with a 2.54 ERA during the 2022 season, and the Yankees expect him to return over the summer as well, but estimating his impact is impossible, having not pitched for over a year.

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