Yankees focus on bullpen with reinforcements on the way

Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke
Michael Bennington
Friday June 28, 2024

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New York Yankees reliever Scott Effross has advanced in his rehabilitation process, moving from Low-A Tampa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The right-hander was scheduled to make his third minor league appearance Wednesday night.

In his first two outings with Tampa, the Yankees reliever demonstrated promising form, pitching three scoreless innings while allowing just one hit and striking out four batters.

Meanwhile, Effross is continuing his rehabilitation, making his third appearance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Manager Aaron Boone noted that Effross, who is recovering from Tommy John and back surgeries, will need several more Triple-A outings before potentially rejoining the Yankees’ bullpen. Boone expressed optimism about Effross’s eventual impact on the team.

Effross has not pitched in a major league game since October 3, 2022, following which he underwent Tommy John surgery. This procedure sidelined him for the 2022 postseason and the entire 2023 season. His Ynakees return was further delayed by back surgery in December 2023, resulting in his placement on the 60-day injured list to start the current season.

Before these setbacks, Effross had shown potential as a valuable Yankees bullpen asset. Acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the 2022 trade deadline, the 30-year-old posted impressive numbers, allowing only three earned runs in 12 2/3 innings while recording 12 strikeouts.

The Yankees’ bullpen, which has struggled recently with a 4.54 ERA in June, eagerly awaits Effross’s return. The unit has been depleted by injuries to key relievers Ian Hamilton, Nick Burdi, and Jonathan Loaisiga, making Effross’s successful rehabilitation all the more crucial for the team’s pitching staff.

Scott Effross pitching
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Another bullpen tweak by Yankees

The New York Yankees continue to tweak their bullpen, with Jake Cousins being the latest call-up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. This move, which saw Yoendrys Gomez sent down, comes as the team begins a series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Manager Aaron Boone addressed the recent bullpen struggles, noting the challenge of covering 25 innings over the last six games, during which they allowed 20 runs (15 earned). While Boone expressed confidence in some late-inning relievers, he acknowledged that defining roles for others remains a work in progress.

Reliable options for Boone have included Clay Holmes, Luke Weaver, Michael Tonkin, and Tommy Kahnle. However, left-hander Caleb Ferguson has struggled with consistency. The bullpen has seen recent additions in Cousins, Phil Bickford, and Tim Hill over the past week.

Cousins, acquired from the Chicago White Sox earlier this season, previously pitched three innings for the Yankees in April before being optioned. After spending nearly two months on the injured list in Triple-A, he returned with a 3.00 ERA in seven appearances.

In Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays, which ended in a 9-2 loss for the Yankees, Cousins pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

These bullpen adjustments underscore the Yankees’ ongoing efforts to stabilize their relief pitching as they approach the trade deadline next month.

Triple-A duty for Gomez

The New York Yankees have sent right-handed pitcher Yoendrys Gómez back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following a tough outing against the New York Mets. Gómez struggled in Wednesday’s 12-2 defeat, giving up five earned runs on four hits and three walks, including home runs to Harrison Bader and Tyrone Taylor. This performance increased his season ERA with the Yankees to 5.87, despite some earlier successful outings.

Charles Wenzelberg/NYP

In other roster news, reliever Clayton Andrews, recently designated for assignment, has opted for free agency rather than accepting an assignment to Triple-A.

These moves highlight the Yankees’ ongoing efforts to bolster their pitching staff as the season progresses.

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