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Another Key Yankees Reliever Is Headed to Injured List; What it Means

Jonathan Loáisiga was shut down from throwing over the last few days with right shoulder discomfort.
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NEW YORK — In a span of a few days, the Yankees have lost three of their high-leverage relievers to the injured list.

First, over the weekend, it was announced that right-hander Chad Green needs Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

On Tuesday, closer Aroldis Chapman went on the injured list with Achilles tendinitis, a nagging injury he's been managing—while struggling on the mound—for a few weeks.

Now, on Wednesday, right-hander Jonathan Loáisiga will join them on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. 

Manager Aaron Boone first revealed Loáisiga was headed to the IL earlier in the afternoon, mentioning the reliever's right shoulder discomfort. The team then made the news official, along with a slew of roster moves, shortly before first pitch.

"He's gone through some tests in the last couple of days," Boone said before Wednesday night's game against the Orioles. "Similar to what he dealt with last year, probably not as severe. So just feel like it's probably something that as a precaution, we need to be smart here, take a couple of weeks and hopefully that's all it is."

New York's skipper added that Loáisiga first became aware of his barking shoulder a few days ago and hasn't thrown since. Right-hander David McKay, who was optioned down to Triple-A earlier this week, is back with the big-league club, taking Loáisiga's spot on the active roster.

Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton was also placed on the injured list Wednesday—New York activated outfielder Joey Gallo from the COVID-19 list while designating catcher Rob Brantly for assignment.

READ: Yankees Place Giancarlo Stanton (Calf Strain) on Injured List 

Loáisiga missed a stretch of games on the IL toward the end of the regular season last fall with a right shoulder strain, one of his only hiccups during a breakout campaign. The right-hander was dominant over 57 appearances, posting a 2.17 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 70.2 frames.

Those results haven't carried over early on in the 2022 season, though.

Across 18 outings, Loáisiga has a 7.02 ERA with 13 earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched. Asked if his shoulder has had anything to do with a poor start to the season, Boone shook his head.

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"I don't, because that was something that popped up like two days ago after his last [outing], he was just a little sore," Boone explained. "So we kind of slowed him down a little bit and just want to make sure obviously he's sound."

It's too early to place any sort of timetable on Loáisiga's injury. Boone said the Yankees will treat it symptomatically, likely restarting his throwing program once he's clear of any discomfort.

Losing Loáisiga, Chapman and Green—in addition to prospect Luis Gil, who also underwent Tommy John surgery this week—is a significant blow to one of the best bullpens in the big leagues.

Nonetheless, Boone didn't bat an eye speaking about that group and how they can weather the storm, producing after an avalanche of adversity.

"It's also a great opportunity for people that we're really excited about to step up and to step into roles," he said. "Look forward to getting Lo back and pitching how we know he's capable of. I think the biggest thing with Lo, it's just been a few outings that have hurt him and when you do that early in the year as a reliever, it shows up that way. But even in those times, he's not far off as far as his stuff and his repertoire and really confident that it will click once he gets rolling."

As has been the case recently, expect righty Clay Holmes to be leaned on late in games going forward. Holmes, who has positioned himself to pitch in save opportunities with a practically perfect start to the season, hasn't allowed a run in 22 innings, the longest streak in the Majors this season.

Same goes for Michael King, who is off to a tremendous start this year as well (despite giving up five earned runs in his last two appearances).

Otherwise, Boone will be forced to use Miguel Castro, Clarke Schmidt, Wandy Peralta,  and Lucas Luetge more in tight spots. New York's No. 27 prospect Ron Marinaccio is also available in the 'pen as well. 

Left-hander JP Sears, the club's No. 23 prospect, could stick around on New York's pitching staff, too. He's set to make his first MLB start on Wednesday night.

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