The New York Yankees have been without Michael King, perhaps their best and most consistent reliever in 2022, since late July, when he suffered a right elbow stress fracture that required surgery and ended his season prematurely.
There was fear that he would need the dreaded Tommy John surgery, which would have knocked him out of action for the entire 2023 campaign as well. Good news for Yankees fans: he won’t be needing the procedure and is expected to be ready to return next year.
“No Tommy John. They said the ligament is intact. No partial tearing. It looks great. I was very relieved to hear that,” an excited King told Sports Illustrated. “Everything checked out.”
That means King will be able to return to action once his fractured elbow fully heals, which is expected to happen by spring training.
The Yankees were finally able to perform the follow-up imaging on his elbow
According to SI.com, the initial pain prevented him from getting into a proper position for an MRI on his UCL. Those original images appeared to be clean but were, ultimately, inconclusive. That’s why he had a follow-up MRI on Thursday to determine if the UCL was damaged or not.
King was a true relief ace this year, with a 2.29 ERA and a 2.23 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) in 51 innings. He thrived on a multi-inning relief role with the Yankees, and given the current state of the bullpen, he could be the injured player they miss the most in the playoffs.
King also struck out a career-high 66 hitters in what was shaping up to be his best season yet.
Provided that additional X-rays confirms that the bone has healed properly, the plan is for King to start throwing again between Oct. 27 and Nov. 27. He believes he won’t miss time in 2023.
“Obviously, starting a throwing program in October, November, means that I’ll be totally fine by next year, which is great,” he said. “That’s really like my ultimate goal, is to not miss any time next year.”