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Lucas Luetge Enjoyed Well-Timed Rebound in June

With the Yankees’ bullpen banged up, Luetge corrected course after opening the season with two rough months.

It looked as if the magic that made Lucas Luetge an improbable, incredible comeback story in 2021 had worn off earlier this season, but the reliever turned things around in June.

The Yankees southpaw allowed just one run over 11.2 innings, a marked improvement after recording a 5.84 ERA over his first 12.1 frames this season. Luetge most recently provided two innings of scoreless relief on Wednesday, striking out two, walking none and lowering his ERA to 3.38 as the Yankees beat the Athletics, 5-3.

“Just commanding the ball,” Luetge said of his performance. “When I struggle, I’m usually getting behind and not throwing strikes. So that was kind of my focus today, just pound the zone and attack hitters.”

Luetge delivered with Michael King and Wandy Peralta – two relievers with higher status in New York’s pecking order – unavailable on Wednesday. While still respectable, Luetge and Miguel Castro (3.51) have the highest ERAs in New York’s bullpen, but the two were able to bridge the gap to Clay Holmes without a hitch against the lowly A’s.

“We kind of know who’s up or available and who’s not,” Luetge said. “So anytime you’re going in there early in the game and the bullpen’s a little light, I’m expecting to throw multiple innings.”

Luetge’s best work this season has come with the Yankees down a few key relievers. Aroldis Chapman, who returned from Achilles tendinitis on Friday, has been out since May 24. Jonathan Loáisiga has been out since May 25, and Chad Green was lost for the season on May 27.

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Domingo Germán and Zack Britton have yet to pitch this year, though both are on the mend, as is Loáisiga.

Reinforcements are on the way, but it’s not like the Yankees have been in dire need. Despite having none of the above names around, New York’s bullpen owned an MLB-best 2.00 ERA in June.

“We’re just a bunch of gamers,” Luetge said. “Everybody’s ready at all times, no matter what the position of the game is. That’s a good thing to have. Everybody wants the ball and nobody is scared to go out there.”

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