Yankees trade for Milwaukee arm to bolster bullpen depleted by injury

Yankees sign Clayton Andrews from Milwaukee on Feb 15, 2024.
Sara Molnick
Thursday February 15, 2024

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As spring training got underway for the New York Yankees, Aaron Boone’s opening press conference delivered surprising news: a key pitching setback.

Right-handed reliever Scott Effross, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, will miss the beginning of this year too. It was revealed that he underwent back surgery in December, a previously undisclosed development.

This key bullpen piece being sidelined prompted the Yankees to act fast. They acquired additional bullpen support and a potential pinch-hitting option in a minor trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, bolstering their relief corps depth.

The Yankees made a minor trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, acquiring left-handed reliever Clayton Andrews in exchange for 19-year-old pitching prospect Joshua Quezada.

Andrews, listed at 5’6″, was a two-way player in the minor leagues until last season before focusing solely on pitching. He joins the Yankees on a minor league contract and will compete for a spot on the major league roster during spring training. Despite this opportunity, he’s likely to begin the season in Triple-A.

To add Andrews to their 40-man roster, the Yankees placed injured reliever Scott Effross on the 60-day injured list, creating the necessary space.

The Yankees’ acquisition of Clayton Andrews brings an intriguing package to their bullpen. The 27-year-old lefty made his major league debut last season with the Brewers, but a rough 3.1-inning stint (11 runs, 10 earned) left him seeking a fresh start.

However, Andrews boasts impressive numbers in Triple-A. Last year, he went 6-0 with a stellar 2.53 ERA, striking out 74 batters in 57 innings. This dominance wasn’t just on the mound. Andrews’ collegiate career at Long Beach State showcased his two-way talent. In 2017, he maintained a 1.99 ERA alongside a .302 batting average with 26 RBI, demonstrating offensive capability despite not hitting any home runs.

Drafted by the Brewers in 2018, Andrews has a career .333 batting average in 63 at-bats, even stepping up to the plate in 2022 though not recording a hit. While pitching is his primary focus now, his versatility adds an interesting element to the mix.

Yankees face setback: Scott Effross’ comeback hits snag

Charles Wenzelberg/NYP

New York Yankees reliever Scott Effross’ comeback trail from Tommy John surgery has encountered an unexpected hurdle. Manager Aaron Boone revealed Wednesday that Effross underwent back surgery in December, delaying his return until sometime this summer.

Effross had originally undergone Tommy John surgery in October 2022, forcing him to miss the entire 2023 season. He was aiming for a full recovery and participation in spring training this year. However, a recent back issue, which Boone described as emerging unexpectedly and unsuccessfully managed through non-surgical means, ultimately required surgery late last year.

Boone mentioned that the Tommy John rehab setback occurred, which delayed his progress. He noted that the throwing program began last week, but it’s somewhat complicated due to transitioning from the Tommy John rehabilitation process back into regular throwing. Boone anticipated a slow ramp-up for him.

With Scott Effross’ back surgery delaying his return until summer and his placement on the 60-day injured list, an opportunity has opened up in the Yankees’ bullpen during spring training. This creates a chance for contenders like Ron Marinaccio to solidify their claims for a roster spot.

Effross arrived in New York via trade from the Cubs during the 2022 deadline. The 30-year-old right-hander, under contract through 2027, impressed in his initial stint with a 2.13 ERA across 13 appearances. Unfortunately, a torn UCL sidelined him just before the 2022 playoffs, leading to Tommy John surgery.

Yankees bring back discarded bullpen piece

Lou Trivino, player of the Yankees

The New York Yankees added depth to their bullpen by signing Lou Trivino to a one-year deal on Wednesday, but the veteran reliever won’t be available until at least summer due to recovering from UCL surgery last May.

Trivino had impressed with a 1.66 ERA in 25 appearances for the Yankees after arriving via the Frankie Montas trade in 2022. However, he needed the surgery and wasn’t tendered a contract in November. After a successful medical evaluation on Wednesday morning, the Yankees brought him back on a one-year deal with a $5 million club option for 2025.

To make room for Trivino on the 40-man roster, the Yankees transferred Jasson Dominguez, who is also recovering from Tommy John surgery, to the 60-day injured list. This creates another vacancy on the 40-man roster.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ pitching staff is ramping up preparations for the season. Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Marcus Stroman all threw live batting practice on Wednesday, while Gerrit Cole is scheduled for a bullpen session on Thursday.

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