Jonathan Loaisiga’s surgery a major setback to Yankee’s struggling bullpen

Two fans present a Jonathan Loaisiga a sketch of the Yankees bullpen pitcher at Yankee Stadium.
Sara Molnick
Tuesday May 2, 2023

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The Yankees’ hope for getting back Jonathan Loaisiga, one of their key relievers, got a major jolt on Monday. Prior to their 3-2 loss to the Guardians at Yankee Stadium, manager Aaron Boone announced that Jonathan Loaisiga would undergo surgery on Tuesday to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. Loaisiga won’t be able to throw for almost three to six weeks.

Jonathan Loaisiga has been out with an injury. The team first diagnosed him with elbow inflammation. The Yankees expected to have him back on their MLB roster either in the last week of August or the September first week

Jonathan Loaisiga’s need for surgery

According to Aaron Boone, Yankees physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad would operate on Jonathan Loaisiga on Tuesday and it would take three to six weeks for the pitcher to recover. The pain in his right elbow has kept the 28-year-old out of play since April 5.

After starting to play catch on Wednesday, Jonathan Loaisiga experienced elbow soreness the following day. This convinced the Yankees to send him for an MRI.

On Saturday, Boone said that the reason for the no-throwing suspension was because Jonathan Loaisiga’s MRI from Friday looked “similar” to the one he had in early April. According to him, there was “nothing structurally alarming” discovered, and Jonathan Loaisiga was scheduled to see team physician Chris Ahmad on Monday.

During Jonathan Loaisiga’s consultation with Ahmad, it appeared that the pitcher had a bone spur, a more severe injury.

Jonathan Loaisiga of the Yankees

“It wasn’t bothering him throwing, and then he came in and had the swelling which they think is related to that spur,” Boone said on Monday. “So they gotta get that outta there.”

Jonathan Loaisiga only started three games this year before going on the injured list. His ERA in his three games was 2.70. He was able to record critical seventh and eighth-inning outs throughout his three appearances. Next to Clay Holmes, he is the Yankees’ most reliable high-leverage reliever.

A major blow to Yankees

Any delay in Jonathan Loaisiga’s return is a major blow to the Yankees, who have been struggling in recent weeks. Without him, late-game impact players like Michael King, Wandy Peralta, and Ron Marinaccio have had to step up.

The Yankees’ bullpen faltered and blew away a 2-0 lead on Monday causing the Yankees to crash to a 3-2 loss to the Guardians. On Monday morning, the team had an overall ERA of 2.93, which was second-best among all teams in Major League Baseball. But the bullpen destroyed Domingo German’s masterwork resulting in another defeat for the Yankees.

Jonathan Loaisiga had his greatest year in 2021 when he had a 2.17 ERA in 57 games, but he took a step back in 2022 when he recorded a 4.13 ERA in 50 games. However, Jonathan Loaisiga improved as the season progressed, and after a promising beginning to 2023, many predicted that he would become an indispensable member of the bullpen that year.

Jonathan Loaisiga looks dejected Yankees player after losing game to the Astros.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees, instead, utilize the guy who is next in line, exactly as the rest of the club does.

Boone has reportedly said that Jonathan Loaisiga would remain on the 15-day injured list until at least August, as reported by Meredith Marakovits of YES Network. It suggests the right-hander will need more than six weeks to fully recuperate before he can resume pitching. Whatever the case may be, Jonathan Loaisiga will be out for quite some time.

When he went to the injured list on April 8, the Yankees hoped that his absence from the lineup would be brief. Both the 28-year-old and Lou Trivino, who was recently placed on the 60-day IL, were projected to play significant roles in the Yankees’ bullpen.

Harrison Bader‘s oblique injury has kept him out of action so far this season. But he is nearly ready to return. On Tuesday, he may be able to resume playing again. Right-handed pitcher Luis Severino has been sidelined with a right lat strain. On Wednesday, he will make his first rehab appearance for Class A Tampa and will throw 45-50 pitches. Boone has predicted that the 29-year-old may rejoin the Yankees in a couple of weeks. He is most likely to make two or three appearances at the Double-A Somerset and Triple-A RailRiders.

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