Yankees place hard-throwing reliever on 15-day IL with hip injury

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
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Nick Burdi was one of the Yankees’ hardest-throwing relievers, earning a job out of Spring Training after firing some impressive innings. The fastball-slider combination was devastating from his obscure arm slot, but they’ll have to manage without him in the meantime as he’s being placed on the 15-day IL for right hip inflammation. In his place, the Yankees are promoting RHP Cody Morris, whom they picked up in a trade with the Cleveland Guardians for outfielder Estevan Florial.

They also announced that outfielder Taylor Trammell has now been activated after being claimed off of waivers yesterday, and he’ll wear the number 33.

Nick Burdi Hits the IL as Yankees Call Up Cody Morris As Replacement

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

The New York Yankees have had an impressive bullpen to open the season, and one of their favorite options early on has been Nick Burdi. They’ll now have to manage without him, as he hits the IL with a right hip injury, but this isn’t necessarily shocking to those who have followed Burdi closely over the years. Injuries have held him back time after time again, but this isn’t as concerning as an elbow or shoulder problem would be.

We don’t have many details regarding the extent of his injury, but the location of the injury usually gives us an initial sign of how bad things could be. As we get more information regarding how long he’ll be shut down for and what exactly he’s dealing with, then a timeline could become a bit clearer. The Yankees are promoting Cody Morris in his place, and the right-hander has experience as a starter and reliever at the Major League level.

With the Cleveland Guardians, Morris had a 3.41 ERA and 32 strikeouts across 31.2 innings pitched, but a high HR/9 rate (1.72) and walk rate (13%) have caused underlying metrics to like him a lot less. His 5.30 FIP and 4.42 xFIP suggest he probably wouldn’t sustain his run prevention over a larger sample size, but he’s off to a strong start with the Scranton RailRiders in Triple-A.

MLB: New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians
Oct 16, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Cody Morris (36) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees in the seventh inning during game four of the ALDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Batters have a 12.5% Barrel Rate against him in his brief MLB career, so to combat that the Yankees have had Cody Morris utilize his changeup a lot more, a pitch that has had a lot of early success. The Whiff Rate hasn’t been high (23.1%), but batters have a .325 xwOBACON against it, and the pitch helps play up his four-seamer. Over the past two years the fastball has been hammered, but in Triple-A he has a .156 wOBA allowed and 26.3% Whiff Rate, which could have to do with how much his ability to change eye levels has improved.

The cutter has become his primary pitch, with a 42.9% Whiff Rate and .276 wOBA against, looking a lot more like it did in 2022 when he had a strong season as a spot starter and reliever. He keeps the ball on the ground, and perhaps he could emerge as a multi-inning relief option for the Bronx Bombers. This move also comes with the aforementioned activation of Taylor Trammell, who has some legit raw power but no feel for contact, similar to a player like Estevan Florial whom ironically was traded for Morris.

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