Yankees activate relief pitcher to aid strong bullpen

new york yankees, justin wilson

With the New York Yankees traveling to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays, they activated relief pitcher Justin Wilson from the 10-day injured list. Activating the lefty will provide the Yankees a bit more flexibility and diversity from the bullpen, which has performed well as of late. Since the Yankees sent down Michael King earlier this week, no corresponding movies were needed for Wilson to re-join the roster.

The former Met signed with the Yankees this off-season to a two-year, $5.15 million deal with a player option 2022. At 33 years old, Wilson only pitched 19.2 innings last year, logging a 3.66 ERA. Over a larger sample size in 2019, Wilson finished with 39 innings of work, earning a 2.54 ERA. After throwing live batting practice last weekend, the Yankees were taking things slowly before activating Wilson.

The expectation is that Justin will be a regular contributor from the bullpen, especially with skipper Aaron Boone playing the statistics game utilizing his lefty arm. Since the Yankees are coming off a tough start to the season, most recently losing to the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings, it is their offense that primarily needs more consistency. The Yankees scored a season-high seven runs on two occasions, but in their losses scored no more than three, indicating a deficiency in production.

In the most recent lost Baltimore, though, the Yankees posted 13 hits and left runners in scoring position on five separate occasions, essentially giving away the win to their opponent. It seemed as if with Aaron Judge out of the lineup, things get a little bit interesting, and he’s expected to miss Friday’s contest against Tampa.

New York Yankees: The latest injury updates on 8 Yankees

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees have had injuries in the spring and before, but have been relatively free of serious injuries that will keep players off the field for prolonged periods. The only serious injury is Luis Severino that was caused by his Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of last season. Here is a breakdown of the injuries and the latest updates for New York Yankee players and when fans could expect them back with the team.

Luis Severino:

On February 27, 2020, Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow. At the time, it was projected he would be away from the team until late summer 2021. That would include a few minor league rehab starts. But recently, manager Aaron Boone has updated his progress, say that he is doing better than expected in his rehab. Boone has actually caught a session from Severino. He is now expected to be back with the team sometime in mid-July.

Miguel Andujar:

Third baseman and outfielder Miguel Andujar has minor hand and wrist soreness that will keep him away from the team at the beginning of the season and with a difficult-to-diagnose injury, possibly beyond. After his poor showing in spring training, when he does come back, he will most likely be sent down to Scranton and won’t be used unless injuries require him.

Luke Voit:

The loss of last year’s baseball home run leader is one of the most significant injuries so far in the spring. Voit had knee surgery yesterday in New York. It was first noticed when he had trouble running the bases. An MRI revealed a partial meniscus tear. He is expected to be away from the team at least until the middle of May.

Justin Wilson:

Left-hand pitcher Justin Wilson was supposed to partially make of for the loss of Zack Britton; he left a March 22 outing with shoulder soreness and tightness. An MRI did not find any serious injury. He is on Anti-inflammatories but will miss the beginning of the season, which is on Thursday of this week. Wilson is progressing nicely and doesn’t want to be in the IL; however, general manager Brian Cashman announced yesterday that he would start the season on the 10 day IL. He will probably return when that expires.

Zack Britton:

It was discovered that left-hand reliever Zack Britton has a bone chip in his elbow. He underwent surgery to have it removed on March 15. There is conflicting information on when fans may expect him to return. Some say six weeks; others say two to three months. Based on the worst-case scenarios, he will be back with the team sometime before the end of June. CBS Sports reports that he won’t be back before May 28th.

Mike Tauchman:

Backup outfielder Mike Tauchman is suffering from a mild self-inflicted injury. Tauchman fouled a pitch off his lower right leg, near his calf, during an eight-pitch at-bat against Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler on Sunday. He is presently icing it down and taking anti-inflammatories. The injury is minor, but his readiness for opening day is questionable.

Clarke Schmidt:

The news on Clarke Schmidt’s elbow injury is not good. He experienced an extensor strain in his right elbow; it’s a common ailment and not long-term serious. Manager Aaron Boone said Thursday that Schmidt’s return to throwing could be “imminent.” However, no matter how minor, he will have to build back up for season play, and he is expected to be out until May 31 after being put on the 60-day IL on Saturday.

Aaron Judge:

Fans were wondering why Aaron Judge was not in yesterday’s New York Yankee’s game after also missing the game before. The good news is that there is nothing seriously wrong with the slugger. He is under the weather. He has gone through the COVID health protocols and has passed those. Both general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone said he would be ready to start the season on Thursday. Other sources say that is questionable.

 

 

Yankees News: Positive Justin Wilson injury update, Jay Bruce expresses excitement about making team

new york yankees, justin wilson

The New York Yankees are heading into the regular season with a few injuries under their belt. Things could’ve been worse, but they did lose relief pitcher Zack Britton and Justin Wilson — Wilson is fighting to get back to normal before the start of the season on April 1.

Wilson has recently begun throwing off the mound, having a successful session over the weekend.

“I got all the way to 90 feet and felt really normal,’’ said Wilson. He also mentioned he’s at about 75-80% of his program.

The Yankees desperately need Wilson to be back to normal as soon as possible, especially with Britton expected to be out for another few weeks. Wilson was solid for the New York Mets in 2020, earning a 3.66 ERA over 19.2 innings.

“I’m not sure it’s set in stone either way,’’ Wilson said. “I know they’ve got a few things they want to see on their checklist.”

Luckily, the Yankees are slowly getting healthier in the pitching department but did lose starting first baseman, Luke Voit, to a partially torn meniscus. He will be out for a minimum of three weeks but recently underwent surgery to correct the issue. Manager Aaron Boone had stated it was better to get the injury out-of-the-way now than play through it and potentially make it more serious.

Jay Bruce on making the Yankees active roster:

Due to Voit suffering the meniscus injury, slugger Jay Bruce made the roster in his absence. Bruce could fill the first base spot in his absence, despite being a traditional right fielder.

“I’m extremely excited to make the team,’’ Bruce said. “Luke’s injury is disheartening for everyone. … He is a big part of the team. My goal is not to come here and replace Luke Voit. It’s to be Jay Bruce and help this team, just like I planned when I signed here.”

Bruce is traditionally a double-digit home-run hitter throughout his career, so he can supplement the loss of Luke in a minor way. After starting off the spring strong, Bruce fell back down to earth, finishing with a .194 average, two homers, and three RBIs. With more live-action, I believe his stat line will flatten out, but just until Voit makes his return in a few weeks.

“I didn’t post a great stat line in spring training, but I refuse to think three extra hits would’ve changed anyone’s mind about a roster decision,’’ Bruce said. “The feedback was good the whole time.”

Yankees receive great Justin Wilson injury news

new york yankees, justin wilson

When the New York Yankees signed former Met Justin Wilson to a two-year, $5.15 million deal, they imagine him being an integral part of their bullpen. In fact, there’s a good chance he plays a big role in 2021, as he posted a 3.66 ERA in 2020 with the Yankees’ crosstown rivals.

In 2019, he logged a 2.54 ERA over 39 innings, an even greater sample size compared to last season, showcasing his qualities. As a former fifth-round pick in the 2008 June Amateur Draft, Wilson is now 33 years old and looking to take a significant role with the Bombers.

However, Wilson removed himself from Monday’s game with shoulder tightness, which commanded MRIs on Tuesday morning. The feedback was inconclusive at first, but the Yankees have since updated us on his condition.

Per the Yankees:

Upon review of the MRI taken yesterday as well as comparing it to a pre-signing MRI there was nothing actionable from those images. LHP Justin Wilson will be treated for his symptom of tightness of his left shoulder and has been given an oral anti-inflammatory medication. He will continue to receive treatment over the next several days before resuming a throwing program.

Thankfully, Wilson is subject to regular rehabilitation, and no extensive injuries were found. This is a great update for the Yankees, who expect to work through the loss of Zack Britton for the first few weeks of the 2021 regular season. Britton is having surgery on his elbow to remove a bone chip, which will keep him out for at least another five weeks.

Even upon his return, Britton will have to work his way back after missing a majority of spring training. Wilson will likely play a significant role in supplementing his loss, and while his sample size over the past two years isn’t great, the Yankees will need him to be 100% healthy.

Yankees: MRI results on Justin Wilson’s left shoulder show some good news

new york yankees, justin wilson

The New York Yankees received some good news on the injury front on Wednesday afternoon, after the results of Justin Wilson’s left shoulder MRI were made public by manager Aaron Boone. The southpaw had to be removed from an appearance against the Phillies on Monday because of left shoulder tightness.

The MRI, which was taken Tuesday on Wilson’s left shoulder, showed “nothing actionable,” according to the Yankees’ skipper.

Prior to being removed; Wilson, signed by the Yankees a few weeks ago to a one-year deal with options, had experienced a velocity decrease on his fastball and the rest of his arsenal, and couldn’t retire any of the four Phillies’ batter he faced that night.

This development, however, means that there is no structural damage in the lefty’s shoulder, which is welcome news to a bullpen that has already lost Zack Britton for the first few weeks of the 2021 season.

The Yankees’ plans with Wilson for the next few days

Right now, the Yankees are listing Wilson as day-to-day, and the diagnosis is that he is dealing with left shoulder tightness.

The next steps include a round of rest and treatment and then, after a few days, trying to resume a throwing program next week if all goes well. A trip to the injured list to start the year can’t be completely ruled out, though.

In fact, the most likely scenario is that the Yankees won’t have Wilson available for the Opening Day tilt against the Toronto Blue Jays, scheduled for April 1. That is a little over a week, and the likelihood is that he will need more days.

Wilson, 33, is part of a formidable Yankees’ bullpen that includes closer Aroldis Chapman and pieces such as Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Darren O’Day, and probably Lucas Luetge and Nick Nelson.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from loss to the Phillies

new york yankees, justin wilson

Overall last night was not a good night for the New York Yankees. The Yankee bats again went silent, the pitching failed, and the Yankees may have lost their last lefty reliever. They also lost the game by being shut out by the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Justin Wilson injured shoulder in the game

In a game the New York Yankees were losing last night 2-0, Justin Wilson took to the mound in the seventh inning. He gave up a two-run homer to ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius. But on his 20th pitch of the inning, something went wrong. He turned away from home plate, clamping his hand. He immediately signaled to the dugout for the trainer. Stevy Donohue and manager Aaron Judge responded.

After a very short conversation, Wilson was taken out of the game. Apparently, before the game, Wilson noticed uncommon tightness in his shoulder that made it impossible to continue pitching after that twentieth pitch. In the dugout, he spoke with Donohue and indicated that it was his shoulder where something had gone wrong. This morning he will undergo an MRI to see what the problem is and how severe it is.

Aaron Boone said it might be nothing that a short rest won’t solve, but he will wait for tests to see what’s going on. If it keeps him off the mound for an extended period, it will be a problem for the Yankees as they already have lefty Zack Britton on the IL. If Wilson joins him, it will leave the Yankees with no lefty relievers on the 40 man roster.

Jameson Taillon has a hiccup

Going into last night’s game, Jameson Taillon had the second-best performance of any Yankee starter other than Domingo German. His ERA was 0.00 over 5.2 innings, giving up no runs. Taillon is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery, but in this spring, training looked entirely healthy, and in his own words, he felt great. And he’s pitched great in his first three games, one in relief, and two games started.

Last night that changed. Taillon breezed through the first two innings, striking out 4 of 6 batters he faced. Taillon got his fifth strikeout in the third inning, but then ex-Yankee Ronald Torreyes singled to left. Back to the top of the lineup, McCutchen popped back to Taillon for the second out. Hoskins singled, and Torreyes scored for the Phillies’ one-game lead. Gregorius singled, and Bohm singled, loading the bases, and that was it for starter Taillon. The New York Yankees are not overly concerned about this and consider it just a hiccup for a pitcher that has been performing nicely. Chad Green came to the rescue, closing out the inning but gave up another run in the next inning. The only other Phillies scoring came in the seventh innings against Justin Wilson when Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer.

Yankee bats fall silent again

Last night against five Philly pitchers, the Yankee hitters could do nothing. They only had two hits in the game and didn’t get a single base on balls. This is concerning because a general lack of hitting so far in spring training has been evident. Besides a couple of games where the hitters prevailed, many games have only produced one or two runs.

There is no question that the New York Yankees have gotten to the top of the Grapefruit League by their excellent pitching, not because of a lot of runs scored. It is obvious that the hitting has gotten off to a slow start. It is generally considered that somewhere in 5 runs scored will win most games. The Yankees in this spring training have averaged 3.7 runs per game.

The lack of Yankee hitting is relatively widespread. DJ LeMahieu, last season’s batting champ for baseball, is hitting only .243 compared to .364 last season. Aaron Judge, who is entirely healthy, has yet to hit a home run. He is batting just .235. Aaron Hicks is batting only .200.  So for the first three hitters of the lineup, they are batting just .226. That batting average isn’t going to win games. Gary Sanchez, although he has 3 home runs, his batting average is the worst of the regular lineup hitters at just .176. Last year’s home run leader, Luke Voit, hasn’t hit a home run and is only batting .214. These players must improve and improve quickly, or the Yankees won’t be winning many games at the beginning of the season.

Some Yankee hitters are performing well. Giancarlo Stanton leads the few with an average of .391 with a homer. Clint Frazier is performing well; his average is .300 with two homers. Brett Gardner has an average of .273 with one Grand Slam and 6 RBI’s. Gleyber Torres has an average of .242 but shows good power with 2 home runs compared to last season. He only had 3 total last season.

 

Yankees lose yet another reliever to injury

Yet another injury concern is now clouding the New York Yankees’ relief corps with the season starting in a little over a week. During the Bombers’ loss against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night, left-hander Justin Wilson, the last of the bullpen arms signed to a contract a couple of weeks ago, called the trainer immediately after throwing a pitch.

He ended up exiting the game at that point, and his injury was later diagnosed by the Yankees’ staff as left shoulder tightness. The team said that he would be reevaluated on Tuesday to know more about the nature of the ailment, but is safe to say that Wilson’s outlook for the start of the regular season is murky.

The lefty is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday, to see if there is any structural damage in his left shoulder.

The Yankees are concerned

The Yankees’ southpaw, who is returning to the Bronx after a very successful stint in 2015, showed diminished velocity during last night’s outing and couldn’t retire any of the four batters he faced. He allowed a single to Rhys Hoskins and a homer to Didi Gregorius, then walked Alex Bohm before exiting the game during Odubel Herrera’s at-bat.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone and athletic trainer Steve Donohue attended to the 33-year-old Wilson, who has had a rough spring.

“The way he described it was that he was having a hard time getting loose out there,” Boone said to the press after the game.

The Yankees signed Wilson to a $2.85 million contract with a player option, which would turn into a club option if declined by the pitcher.

The Yankees have the depth to absorb losing Wilson but it would be a blow nonetheless if he misses time.

“I’ve talked a lot about how impressed I’ve been with our depth,” Boone said. “I feel like there’s a number of guys that we could turn to if we got in a situation. First things first, we’ll get [Wilson’s shoulder] looked at [Tuesday] and hope that it’s not something that sets him back too much.”

New York Yankees: Lucas Luetge turning heads in spring training

During the offseason, the New York Yankees made an interesting addition to the Yankees. The 33-year-old Lucas Luetge, a pitcher that hasn’t been in the major leagues since 2015. Although the Yankees signed him to a minor league contract, he knew he has little chance to make the 40 man Yankee roster or even earn any regular-season innings for the team.

However, through five spring appearances with the Yankees, Lucas Luetge is on pace to turn some heads. One must remember it’s easy to be overly optimistic when looking at a small sample. But at the same time, it’s hard to overlook striking out 11 of 18 batters faced. That can’t just be a coincidence; it’s got to be a sign of true talent.  Across five full innings, Luetge has yet to allow a single run while permitting just a single base on balls to go along with two singles. He has struck out the likes of Bryce Harper, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Andrew McCutchen, and Didi Gregorius.

New York Yankees assistant GM Mike Fishman pursued Lucas Luetge each of the past two years and signed him to a minor league deal this offseason; he said, “A lot of people are talking about him [in camp]. He is opening eyes with how he is performing — and the quality of the stuff, too. He has swing-and-miss pitches.” Luetge has been trying to get from the minors to the majors for the last six years. He did it for just one game back in 2015. He pitched 2 1/2 innings of shutout ball. But his return to the majors has been elusive.

One of the problems holding Luetge back has been his inability to get righties out. However, now late in his career, he is doing just that. 8 of his 13 strikeouts have been against right-hand hitters. Manager Aaron Boone has been gushing over Luetge. When talking about the Luetge slider, he had this to say:

Boone about Luetge’s slider to Sports Illustrated’s Max Goodman, saying “It’s a really good breaking ball, it’s a swing-and-miss breaking ball. He’s got all the spin numbers that take you back a little bit. Even though he’s not overpowering with the fastball, the fastball really plays as well.”

As CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa reports, Boone’s claims ring true through the spring training pitch data. Luetge has radically boosted the spin rate on each of his three offerings to well past the MLB average, especially his slider, giving them a late-life that has left anyone lucky enough to watch him toss in person awestruck.

The New York Yankees added another left-hander in veteran Justin Wilson; they just lost one as well, with Zack Britton going under elbow injury. His three-to-four-month recovery time from that surgery leaves an opening for either Wison or Luetge, a place setting up for Aroldis Chapman. In that effort, it’s hard to ignore Luetge’s 18.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

Now that Britton is out, after Aroldis Chapman and Wilson, the only other lefty currently projected to make the Yankee bullpen (per FanGraphs Depth Charts) is fellow 33-year-old non-roster invitee Tyler Lyons. Though he’s spent time on a major league roster every season since 2013, Lyons has always had a high ERA over the period. Lyons has been okay in this spring training with an ERA of 2.45 but not close to Luetge’s performance. Luetge is almost certainly in if Lyons is out, should the Yankees choose to add another lefty to the bullpen. With Luetge’s performance so far this spring training, the Yankees will have the obvious choice of adding him to the Yankee’s bullpen.

Yankees News: Cashman ‘moving toward a deal’ with Justin Wilson, what to know

New York Yankees, Justin Wilson

As expected, the New York Yankees are still contemplating adding another relief pitcher to the bullpen. With the starting rotation flush with options, despite risky ones, the bullpen could use a bit more support after they traded away Adam Ottavino and Darren O’Day.

While the Yankees sent scouts to check out David Robertson during a bullpen session at the University of Alabama, it seems as if they are keen on signing former New York Met, Justin Wilson. At 33 years old, Wilson has spent the last nine years in the MLB, proving he can be an adequate option out of the bullpen. Last season with the Mets, he pitched 19.2 innings, earning a 3.66 ERA. The year prior, he recorded a 2.5 ERA with 10.15 strikeouts per nine. His 51% ground ball rate matches up well with Yankee stadium.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports the “Yankees appear to be moving toward a deal with Justin Wilson. Mets were showing interest a few days ago, but it seems likely he’s heading across the Triboro Bridge, back to the Yankees.”

Wilson will likely be a cost-efficient signing, who previously played with the Yankees back in 2015. During that lone season, he featured over 61 innings and posted a 3.10 ERA. His primary pitches are a fastball, cutter, slider, and the occasional curveball. He throws his fastball an average of 95.5 mph and cutter 91.2.

His addition to the bullpen would be positive, in my opinion, as position battles ensue during spring training. With just two days until the start of spring training and player’s report, getting a deal done now would be perfect timing for the Yankees to roll in stride.

One more positive that Wilson brings to the table is that he is a left-handed reliever, offering a bit of diversity to the bullpen. Since the Yanks opened up about $8 million with the Ottavino trade, I expect them to offer about $3 million per season to Wilson on a short-term deal.

Justin Wilson update: The Yankees are “moving towards” a deal

New York Yankees, Justin Wilson

For a couple of days now, the New York Yankees have been connected with left-handed bullpen arm Justin Wilson. Robert Murray of Fansided was the one who reported the negotiations over the weekend.

Monday came, and the Yankees and Wilson haven’t yet agreed to a deal. However, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Bombers ‘appear to be moving toward a deal with Justin Wilson.’

Heyman indicates that the New York Mets were showing interest a few days ago “but it seems likely he’s heading across the Triboro Bridge, back to the Yankees.”

Wilson actually pitched for the Yankees five years ago. Over his career, he has very good numbers: In 429 1⁄3 innings, he has a great 9.94 K/9, 3.27 ERA, and 3.34 FIP.

The Yankees would be getting another late-inning option

The Yankees want a reliever that doesn’t have a platoon split, meaning that isn’t particularly weaker against lefties or righties. Wilson doesn’t have that problem, as he can get batters of both hands out: righties have a career .284 wOBA against him, and lefties have a .291 mark.

If Wilson and the Yankees do finish the details for a reunion, the Bombers would put the cherry on top of a very nice offseason that saw them address the starting rotation with Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon; the relief corps with Darren O’Day, and the bench with left-handed bat Jay Bruce.

When Wilson was with the Yankees back in 2015, he was solid: the southpaw notched a 3.10 ERA and a 2.69 FIP in 61 frames. His 9.74 K/9 and a 2.95 BB/9 were proofs of his dominance.

It looks like a signing could become official in the next few hours, and if it does, Wilson would join a great unit that already has Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green O’Day, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nick Nelson, Albert Abreu, Brooks Kriske, Michael King, and others.