Yankees shut down key relief pitcher, pushing his return back

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

At the trade deadline last summer, the Yankees bolstered their bullpen with several strategic moves. This year, they are optimistic about the return of key injured players, which they hope will strengthen their pitching staff similarly to acquiring new talent at the deadline.

Yankees’ Setbacks and Rehab for Lou Trivino

One of those players, Lou Trivino, has hit a snag in his recovery process. Yankees Manager Aaron Boone revealed on Sunday that Trivino experienced inflammation in his surgically repaired right elbow last month, leading to a temporary shutdown of about a month. This development is likely to delay his return to the team.

“Nothing ligament,” Boone clarified before Sunday’s game against the Rays. “All that’s good, but he got shut down. They feel like it’s kind of minor.”

The Yankees are paying Trivino $1.5 million this season, with a club option for 2025 worth $5 million. Given his recent health issues, it remains uncertain if the Yankees will exercise this option.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees
Oct 22, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Lou Trivino (56) pitch in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during game three of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Trivino’s Performance and Recovery

Trivino, 32, is trying to come back from a 2023 season curtailed by Tommy John surgery. His last MLB action was in 2022, split between the Oakland Athletics and the Yankees. He struggled with Oakland, posting a 6.47 ERA, but after being traded to the Yankees, he achieved a 1.66 ERA over 21.2 innings. While his strikeouts decreased, his ability to keep the ball on the ground and leave runners on base improved, with a left-on-base percentage of 83.9% and a ground ball rate of 51.7%.

The Yankees were successful in reducing the number of flyballs Trivino allowed, which correlated with fewer home runs conceded. If Trivino can return to the form he showed in 2022 during the latter part of this season, his contract will prove to be a good investment.

However, with the recent setback, his return might not be realistic until August, as he will need to restart his rehabilitation program due to the elbow inflammation. Fortunately, the lack of ligament damage suggests there is no structural harm to his surgically repaired UCL.

Scott Effross Nearing Return

Meanwhile, Scott Effross is progressing well in his recovery. He is currently throwing bullpen sessions in Tampa and is close to facing live hitters. Like Trivino, Effross is recovering from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent at the end of the 2022 season, and he also had back surgery this past winter. The Yankees anticipate his return in the coming months, hopeful that he will contribute to a bullpen that currently boasts the best ERA in baseball.

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