Jonathan Loaisiga to take over King’s multi-inning Yankees reliever role

Jonathan Loaisiga, the Yankees pitcher, is at Tampa for the 2024 spring camp.
Sara Molnick
Friday March 15, 2024

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The New York Yankees may have discovered a way to replace the contributions of Michael King as a multi-inning reliever. Jonathan Loaisiga has suggested that there are potential plans for him to take on a similar role.

King excelled in this specific role before transitioning to a starting pitcher and eventually being traded to the San Diego Padres. Loaisiga disclosed that he has had discussions with the Yankees about replicating King’s approach, which involves pitching multiple innings with short breaks in between outings.

During his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday, Loaisiga provided more details about the current plan. He will be making multi-inning appearances without pitching on consecutive days. This approach will be reassessed later in the season.

Speaking through interpreter Marlon Abreu after the Yankees’ 7-0 loss to the Tigers, Loaisiga hinted at a potential shift towards pitching one inning on back-to-back days in the latter part of the season. However, he emphasized that these discussions are ongoing and the final plan may be subject to change based on various factors.

Yankees prioritize caution with Loaisiga’s workload due to injury history


The New York Yankees are adopting a cautious approach to managing Jonathan Loaisiga’s workload, similar to the strategy they employed with Michael King last season. This approach focuses on limiting Loaisiga’s appearances on consecutive days.

King’s injury history, particularly a fractured elbow he suffered in 2022, significantly influenced the Yankees’ careful management of his workload. Likewise, Loaisiga’s recent injury struggles justify a similar approach.

Over the past two seasons, Loaisiga has only managed to pitch a total of 65⅔ innings. The 2023 season was particularly challenging for him, as he underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow, which kept him off the mound for four months. Furthermore, right elbow inflammation caused him to end his season prematurely in September.

Loaisiga’s injury concerns extend beyond his elbow. In 2022, he experienced right shoulder inflammation, which hindered his performance. Additionally, he has dealt with shoulder strains that have led to significant time away from the field in both 2019 and 2021. Considering this injury history, the Yankees are prioritizing Loaisiga’s health by carefully managing his workload and avoiding pitching him on consecutive days.

Gradual integration and high hopes for Loaisiga’s return

Yankees pitcher Jonathan celebrates victory over the White Sox with catcher Kyle Higashioka on August 8, 2023, in Chicago.

The New York Yankees are adopting a cautious approach to reintegrating Jonathan Loaisiga into their bullpen. This strategy places a strong emphasis on maintaining his health and aims to ensure his availability throughout the entire season.

Loaisiga’s recent inclusion in spring training games represents a significant step forward in his return to action. Prior to this, he had primarily been participating in simulated games and live batting practice sessions. Once the regular season commences, the Yankees plan to seamlessly integrate him into a consistent relief role.

Loaisiga’s potential to be a top-tier reliever was showcased during his outstanding 2021 season, in which he posted an impressive 2.17 ERA over the course of 57 appearances. Reflecting on that performance, Loaisiga remains determined to recapture that level of excellence, with maintaining his health being the crucial factor in achieving this goal.

After his most recent outing, Loaisiga expressed satisfaction with his performance. This marked the first time he had faced hitters from an opposing team since September. Although he allowed one run over 1 ²/₃ innings, his fastball displayed encouraging velocity, with his sinker averaging 98 mph. Loaisiga emphasized that he feels physically strong and is optimistic about his current condition.

Weaver prepares for potential rotation duty despite neck issue

Luke Weaver signed an incentive-loaded deal with the Yankees.
Robert Sabo / NY POST

With Gerrit Cole out of action due to an elbow injury, Luke Weaver, who is being considered as a potential replacement in the New York Yankees’ rotation, took part in a simulated game. This came after Weaver was forced to miss his scheduled start on Tuesday due to a stiff neck.

Despite this setback, Weaver managed to throw approximately 50 pitches in the simulated game and reported feeling good physically afterwards. His role on the team remains flexible, and he expressed an unwavering commitment to contributing in whatever way the Yankees need him to. Whether it means increasing his pitch count to serve as a starter or providing support in another capacity, Weaver remains focused on making a positive impact for the team.

While acknowledging the personal challenges that come with such uncertainty, Weaver emphasized his dedication to following the team’s strategy. He made it clear that individual preferences take a back seat when it comes to fulfilling his role within the Yankees’ pitching rotation.

The 30-year-old right-hander joined the Yankees late last season after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners via the waiver wire. He made three starts for the Yankees towards the end of the 2023 season.

Manager Aaron Boone announced the initial roster of high-profile position players who are scheduled to travel to Mexico for the trip on March 24-25, just before the start of the regular season.

The list of players included Juan Soto, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Jose Trevino, and Alex Verdugo. Boone made a special mention of LeMahieu’s excitement about the opportunity to participate in this trip.

Furthermore, the Yankees made the decision to reassign left-handed pitcher Oddanier Mosqueda to the minor league camp as part of their ongoing roster adjustments.

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