After facing live hitters for the first time since left elbow surgery on Saturday afternoon, Zack Britton is set to begin his rehab assignment in the minor leagues.
The reliever is scheduled to join Double-A Somerset and make his first in-game appearance of the season on Wednesday, per Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Britton had a bone chip removed from his left elbow in March, landing on the 60-day injured list. Pitching in a live batting practice on Saturday in Scranton, Britton told his big-league manager that his arm is feeling good.
"He was really encouraged. Said he was a little rusty, but felt like his stuff was good," Boone said. "His arm felt great. So it sounds like it was another good step for him."
On Friday, Boone revealed that Britton has five minor-league outings scheduled before the southpaw is ready to rejoin the Yankees' bullpen. That's assuming everything goes well along the way.
Even with their setup man missing for the first two months of the season, New York's bullpen has been both reliable and dominant. Entering play on Saturday, the 'pen has the third-best ERA (2.84) in baseball. The bullpen has also accounted for 166 strikeouts over 139.1 innings this season, fifth-most in the league.
Britton returning to his spot in the eighth inning would allow relievers like Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta to pitch earlier, bridging the gap from starting pitchers to closer Aroldis Chapman.
In 2020, Britton pitched in 20 games, posting a 1.89 ERA with eight saves.
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