The New York Yankees have been decimated by injuries the past week, including three bullpen arms. Chad Green will undergo Tommy John surgery, Aroldis Chapman was placed on the 15-day IL with Achilles tendinitis, and Jonathan Loáisiga was also placed on the IL with shoulder information.
In the meantime, the Yankees will have to supplement those losses. They have called upon some of their younger options like Ron Marinaccio and Clarke Schmidt. They have performed well for the most part, but one veteran is slowly working his way back after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.
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The hopeful return of Zack Britton is huge for the Yankees:
Zack Britton, 34 years old, was placed on the 60-day injured list on March 13, missing 46 games if you dip into the 2021 season. He had surgery on September 8 of last year, so he’s making good progress and could deliver an impact during the second half of the 2022 season.
“Britton is really encouraged by where he’s at. He had a version of Tommy John, so his timeline is potentially shorter than the normal 12, 14, 16 months.”
Last season, Britton posted a 5.89 ERA over 18.1 innings. His numbers were down for the most part, with his fastball velocity dropping to 92.6 mph, showcasing a big difference in quality.
However, Zack is expected to throw for the first time against hitters over the weekend, suggesting that he could make a return before the normal rehabilitation timeline of 12-16 months.
Getting a historically dominant relief pitcher back would be a huge bonus for the Yankees. With injuries becoming a serious issue, his presence would be felt, especially since he provides another lefty to utilize. Britton is also capable of featuring as a predominant closer. He can take pressure off Aroldis Chapman, who struggled during the month of May considerably.
Britton can either serve as a setup man or closer, working in conjunction with Chapman and Clay Holmes. Holmes has been lights out this season. The last time Britton threw over 20 innings was back in 2019 when he tossed 61.1. He posted a 1.91 ERA with a 77.2% ground ball rate and 86.8% left on base rate. If he can find his quality once again, the Yankees will be in good shape down the stretch.