Yankees weigh on Luis Gil’s future but admit to being boxed in by limits

Yankees' pitcher Luis Gil

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The New York Yankees are grappling with a challenging situation regarding pitcher Luis Gil, whose performance has significantly declined over his last three starts. Manager Aaron Boone confirmed Wednesday that Luis Gil is set to make his next scheduled start against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, wrapping up the team’s homestand.

However, the Yankees face a predicament as they are unable to identify what problem is besetting Luis Gil causing a sudden decline in his rookie-of-the-year form. While Boone has hinted at possibly adjusting his schedule around the upcoming All-Star break, pitching coach Matt Blake noted that the team’s options are limited making a Yankees’ decision on Luis Gil’s future a tough one. He underlined the need to balance Luis Gil’s situation with the requirements of other rotation members.

“You always have to weigh, if you take him out, someone has to pitch that fifth start,” the Yankees’ pitching coach said. “So do you option him [to the minors]? Put him in the bullpen? You can’t IL a guy who’s not hurt, so what’s the cost to the rest of the roster?”

The Yankees are deliberating on the difficulties posed by Luis Gil’s recent decline in performance. However, their hands are tied. The team can’t opt to demote him to Triple-A due to a lack of clear replacement options from their minor league roster.

Yankees' Luis Gil pitches against the Orioles at Camden Yards on May 1, 2024.

They are also considering other options for Luis Gil, including removing him from the rotation. Blake emphasized the complexities of such a decision, noting that another pitcher would need to step into the pitcher’s shoes. The coach outlined how each of the potential alternatives, including moving him to the bullpen, would push the Yankees to address the roster implications.

Blake also highlighted the impossibility of placing a healthy player on the Injured List, further complicating the team’s decision-making process regarding GiLuis Gil’s immediate future in the rotation.

Luis Gil’s recent struggles have raised concerns, shifting him from a potential All-Star Game candidate to a pitcher whose place in the rotation is now uncertain. Despite these issues, Blake insisted that the pitcher is not dealing with any health problems and suggested that any fatigue he might be experiencing was typical for a rookie approaching 90 innings midway through the season.

Dramatic fall of Luis Gil hits Yankees hard

His sudden performance shift has raised alarms within the organization. After an impressive start to the season with a 2.03 ERA over his first 14 outings, allowing only five home runs and 39 walks in 80 innings, his last three starts have been drastically different. Luis Gil has posted a 14.90 ERA, surrendered three home runs, issued nine walks, and hit five batters in just 9 2/3 innings.

Yankees' Luis Gil looks frustrated during the Blue Jays game in Toronto on April 15, 2024.
(Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

Pitching coach Blake is examining possible reasons behind Luis Gil’s struggles, including delivery issues potentially caused by fatigue. While he isn’t as sharp as he was earlier in the season, Blake emphasized that the pitcher doesn’t require a complete shutdown. The team will closely monitor his workload and mechanics to identify and address any problems.

However, Blake pointed out persistent inconsistencies in Luis Gil’s delivery, particularly changes in his arm slot that impact his fastball profile and command. He framed the pitcher’s recent struggles as part of the natural fluctuations of a season, noting that the heightened scrutiny comes from Luis Gil’s previously stellar performance.

“His arm slot is changing on him, so the fastball profile changes and he loses a little command,’’ he said about Luis Gil. “Guys go through it in a season, there’s just more focus on him with how good he’s been. Now there’s some regression, and everyone wants to know why. It’s a little bit of everything.”

The Yankees’ coaching staff sees this three-start slump of Luis Gil as a temporary setback rather than a long-term issue. They are focused on promptly addressing these challenges to prevent them from becoming a more significant concern for the young pitcher.

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