Yankees reinstate multi-inning relief arm from 7-Day COVID IL to boost bullpen

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
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Ian Hamilton had been placed on the COVID-19 IL last week, and the Yankees were short-handed in their bullpen as a result. The depth of their reliever group has been tested thoroughly in the month of May, and it hasn’t been to consistently excellent results. While Hamilton has not been as effective this year as he was last season, there is still some excellent damage suppression that he brings to the table, and he could provide some much-needed support right now. It was announced that Yoendrys Gomez was demoted back to Triple-A on the off-day, making that the corresponding move.

Ian Hamilton Activated Ahead of Yankees Series Opener in Anaheim

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Apr 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Ian Hamilton (71) throws against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Through 19 appearances, Ian Hamilton has a 3.18 ERA and 3.62 FIP with 22.2 innings pitched, and the biggest issue for him as of late has been command. After getting off to a dominant start including a four-strikeout performance in Arizona, the right-hander has a 10.6% walk rate and 4.24 ERA. Meredith Marakovits of YES Network reported that Ian Hamilton had been struggling to bounce back from these multi-inning outings due to fatigue.

In his last five outings, Hamilton has upped the velocity back to 96 MPH on average, but he’s also allowed three runs in 5.1 innings pitched. What stands out in that line is six strikeouts to no walks with a 20% Hard-Hit rate, and perhaps the Yankees get a more controlled version of their high-leverage weapon. Last season we saw Hamilton come out of nowhere to rack up 58 innings with a 2.64 ERA and 69 strikeouts, earning a spot in this bullpen for the longhaul.

Given some of the Yankees’ uncertainty in the bullpen, getting an arm like Ian Hamilton back could bolster their late-inning options, as they haven’t found reliable arms outside of Clay Holmes and Luke Weaver. He’ll join the team ahead of their three-game set in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels, as Nestor Cortes takes on Griffin Canning at 9:38 PM EST in the series opener.

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