Zack Britton returned to the Yankees’ bullpen on Thursday, but they lost another left-handed reliever when Wandy Peralta was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left thoracic spine tightness, a back problem.
Britton, 34, has been out since last season after undergoing surgery at UCL and made it clear he felt ready to join the bullpen when he arrived in the Bronx on Wednesday and said he he was “ready to launch”.
The veteran reliever said he spoke to general manager Brian Cashman on Wednesday about his role. The Yankees, however, wanted to see what their bullpen needs were, which meant it was possible Britton wouldn’t make his 2022 debut until Sunday.
That may have changed, however, when Peralta was placed on the IL.
Manager Aaron Boone says Peralta have sorted out some back issues over the past month. He’s been subdued since his last pitch Sunday in Milwaukee, where he allowed three runs without putting out a batter.
The Yankees are hoping Peralta will be back in time for their final regular-season series at Texas.
Britton, who didn’t pitch Thursday in the Yankees’ 5-4, 10-inning win over the Red Sox, is in the final year of his contract with the Yankees and aims to show he can pitch for them by playoffs.
“I want to put my performance back where I want it to be,” Britton said. “It was a progression to return to the big leagues. Now it’s about perfecting myself so I can be a playoff asset. Time will tell if that makes sense.
Boone said, “With 14 games to go, it’s important to get it up here and there against major league competition to see where we stand.”
Britton pitched effectively and said he had no problems during his minor league rehab mission, during which he played eight games.
“I think there’s an unknown and we won’t know until I do, but my arm felt fine,” Britton said. “I’m not worried, but I don’t know. …If I get enough innings to be myself, time will tell.”
To make room for Britton on the 40-man roster, Miguel Andujar was slated for an assignment, potentially ending his time with the Yankees.
Andrew Bentinendi, on the IL after surgery to repair a broken hamate bone hook in his right wrist, still hopes to return in time for the playoffs but has all but ruled out returning before the end of the regular season .
“That’s the plan,” Benintendi said of being available for the playoffs. “In terms of days, I think it’s safe to say the regular season is over.
DJ LeMahieu (inflamed right toe) worked the field and practiced regularly at bat Thursday. Boone had expressed hope that LeMahieu could return during the current homestand, which ends on Sunday.
With Thursday’s win, the Yankees clinched a playoff berth, making Boone the first manager in MLB history to make the playoffs in his first five seasons, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Clarke Schmidt allowed two homers in the seventh inning and allowed three homers and six runs overall in his last two outings, covering 3 ¹/₃ innings.
Boone said Schmidt “struggled” and needed to perform better against left-handed hitters.
Aroldis Chapman’s control issues resurfaced when he walked out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth inning. He’s walked seven batters in his last five appearances. … Giancarlo Stanton had two home runs in his last three games and had another three-hit game.
New York Post