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Zack Britton Returns to Yankees as Wandy Peralta Hits IL

The left-handed Britton spent the last year recovering form Tommy John surgery.

Zack Britton always hoped to rejoin the Yankees before the end of this season. On Thursday, that goal became a reality.

New York activated the left-handed reliever before starting a series against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, the team announced on Thursday afternoon. Britton has not pitched in a major league game since Aug. 19 of last year, as he underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 9, 2021.

While getting Britton back is a plus, New York had to put fellow southpaw Wandy Peralta on the injured list with a back/side injury. Making a spot for Britton to return to the 40-man roster, New York designated Miguel Andújar for assignment.

"We don't think it's serious," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Peralta. "Something that's popped up a couple times over the last four to six weeks. This time it's been a few days, though. So just feel like it's something we want to knock out right now."

The 34-year-old Britton returns to the Yankees following a rehab assignment that began nearly a month ago. Pitching for Single-A Tampa, Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Britton made eight appearances while totaling 6.2 innings. He recorded a 1.35 ERA during his rehab, an encouraging sign for the Yankees.

New York’s bullpen has more than a few question marks following a year of inconsistency and injuries, and Britton could offer a stabilizing presence over the final few weeks of the season if he can return to form. A two-time All-Star and former closer, he registered a 1.84 ERA from 2014-2020.

However, Britton is coming off a major layoff, and the impending free agent has thrown just 37.1 innings since the start of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Britton tallied a 5.89 ERA over 18.1 innings last year while also dealing with a bone chip in his elbow prior to Tommy John surgery.

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"Feel like he's in a good spot," Boone said. "The sinker profile is in as good a place as it's been. Now we get to go see it here. So excited to get Britt back in the mix and hopefully he'll be able to impact us."

Peralta, meanwhile, has quietly enjoyed a stellar second season in pinstripes. He is second among Yankees relievers in appearances (56) and innings (56.1), and he owns a 2.72 ERA. He’s also added four saves to his stat line.

Boone added that the plan is for Peralta to ramp up in a few days, getting ready to return for the Yankees' series in Texas at the very end of the regular season.

Prior to announcing the Britton and Peralta moves, the Yankees also added Scott Effross back to their pen. Greg Weissert was demoted in a corresponding move on Wednesday night.

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