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What Chad Green's Elbow Injury Means For Yankees' Bullpen

After landing on the injured list with an elbow strain, it was revealed on Sunday that Green will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

NEW YORK — Over the last five-plus seasons, right-hander Chad Green has been one of the most consistent relievers in all of baseball.

Since the beginning of the 2017 season, Green has been reliable in a variety of different roles, producing quality numbers while staying healthy. In fact, following a stint on the injured list in the fall of 2016, Green hasn't been back to the IL, appearing in 260 games in that span.

That run of steadiness in the 'pen came to an end this week for Green, however, as the right-hander was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right elbow strain.

Green came out of his relief appearance in Baltimore on Thursday afternoon with right forearm tightness. A few days later, Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced that Green will in fact undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his season.

READ: Chad Green Latest Yankees Pitcher In Need of Tommy John Surgery

"Chad's a lot that's right about our sport just in the way he prepares, how he takes care of himself, the professional that he is, the respect he carries in that room, the track record of consistent success. So it's difficult," Boone said before Saturday's game. "He’s handled it as good as you can. Those of you who know him, he's just such a consistent person, a pro, strong faith. So he's equipped to handle this and certainly will I think as well as you can moving forward."

Green posted a 3.00 ERA over 14 appearances to start the 2022 season. Since his return from injury in 2017, he's pitched to the tune of a 2.96 ERA across 338 innings.

It's not easy for any team to lose one of their trusty, high-leverage relievers, but the Yankees have the talent and depth to soften the blow.

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Beyond closer Aroldis Chapman, setup man Jonathan Loáisiga and breakout reliever Clay Holmes, who has been legitimately unhittable this season, New York can continue to count on right-hander Michael King, regardless of the situation. 

Reliever Miguel Castro, who New York acquired from the Mets during spring training, is another asset that can help fill the void in Green's absence. Then again, Boone said he already considered Castro in the same tier as those aforementioned relievers, even if he hasn't pitched a ton to this point (2.92 ERA in 12.1 innings entering play on Saturday).

"He's pitched really well for us, got a lot of confidence in what he does and what he brings," Boone said. "Some of that spottiness over the course of a week, a lot of times is sometimes a result of starters getting deeper now. Castro is going to be a guy that I feel like will lean on a lot throughout the season."

Take Saturday's game, for example. After five innings of work from Nestor Cortes, Boone called on King, Loáisiga, Castro and Holmes to secure the victory. Boone has made it clear he's willing to use any of those relievers with the game on the line, in addition to Chapman.

New York will also proceed to utilize prospects in the 'pen. Ron Marinaccio (New York's No. 27 prospect, per MLB Pipeline), was recalled from Triple-A on Saturday in Green's place, joining former top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt at the big-league level. Despite Luis Gil's injury—he'll undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday—other highly-touted arms like JP Sears could be called up in the not-so-distant future as well. 

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