The Yankees could have more bullpen help on the horizon.
Hard throwing right-hander Jonathan Loáisiga played catch at 120 feet on Tuesday and is making significant progress towards returning to the big leagues down the stretch of the season.
"Very encouraged. I haven’t talked to the trainers afterwards but watched most of his catch play and I thought he looked really good, throwing free-and-easy,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone on Tuesday. “Another good step for him. I know these days have gone well for him as he’s been re-introduced to throwing and stuff, so [it’s] hopefully another step forward to getting him back at the end of the year.”
The next step for Loáisiga is to toss a bullpen session, which is scheduled for Friday. As far as how many of these side sessions he will require before he can return, Boone said it all depends on how the pitcher responds.
However, Boone doesn’t think Loáisiga will require too many of them, given the fact that he hasn’t been on the injured list for that long.
“We’ll see. I mean, that’s something that we’ll kind of watch as we go,” said Boone. “Obviously, the trainers will have a big role in that in deciding how many of those he needs, how sharp they are, how he is recovering from those, so because he wasn’t down for very long, you probably, in theory, shouldn’t need too much, but hopefully he passes those and we do get him back before the regular season ends.”
Loáisiga was initially placed on the IL on September 5 with a right rotator cuff strain, which is now his second stint on the shelf since early-July.
Luckily, Luis Severino is back for the first time since the 2019 postseason. He is expected to pitch out of the bullpen going forward as well. If Loáisiga can make it back before the season ends, his presence as a setup man could help the Yankees make a late push for a Wild Card berth.
But time is of the essence with just 10 games left to play in the regular season. Prior to losing Loáisiga, the right-hander emerged as a dominant late-inning reliever for the Yankees, posting a 9-4 record, 2.25 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 68 innings.
- Luis Severino Shines in Long-Awaited Return From Tommy John Surgery
- Joely Rodríguez Has Gone From Afterthought to Valued Member of Yankees’ Pen
- Aaron Boone Provides Update on Joey Gallo's Neck Injury