Yankees rebuild bullpen for now after Michael King injury

BALTIMORE — The Yankees’ worst fears were confirmed Saturday, when they placed Michael King on the 60-day injured list with a broken right elbow.

Aaron Boone said he expected King to be out for the season.

The right-hander was injured throwing a pitch to Ramon Urias in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ Friday night win over the Orioles at Camden Yards. King was in New York on Saturday to undergo tests to determine if there was ligament damage in addition to the broken bone.

General manager Brian Cashman declined to say whether King’s injury will impact his thinking as the August 2 trade deadline approaches.

“We will continue to evaluate the roster, but King is a very important member of our bullpen,” Cashman said. “At the end of the day, I have until August 2.”

To help replace King in the bullpen, the Yankees recalled Clarke Schmidt from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. They also opted for Tim Locastro at SWB and signed right-hander Shane Greene to a major league contract.

Greene, the 34-year-old right-hander who came through the Yankees system and pitched in the Bronx in 2014, had also pitched at SWB. He pitched an inning on Saturday, allowing Urias a two-run homer in the Yankees’ 6-3 loss.

Yankees
Shane Green reacts after giving up a home run to the Orioles.
PA

Neither Schmidt nor Greene can replace King, whom Boone called “one of the best relievers in all of baseball.”

“He is so good at the back. It’s definitely a blow that we have to absorb,” Boone said.

At the start of the season, the Yankees bullpen was the envy of most of the league, with a solid back of Clay Holmes, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta, and hope that ‘Aroldis Chapman could bounce back from a lousy 2021.

And then there was depth in the form of Miguel Castro (acquired from the Mets in spring training in exchange for Joely Rodriguez), Lucas Luetge and King.

But the reality is different, especially lately.

With King out for the season, he joins an IL that also includes Green, who is out for the year due to surgery on Tommy John and Castro, who is sidelined indefinitely with a sprained shoulder.

Yankees
Michael King
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Chapman, although healthy, is no longer efficient or reliable. And Loaisiga is not about to reproduce its dynamic 2021 season.

The Yankees are still hopeful that Zack Britton, who had elbow surgery last year, will return at some point, but bringing the southpaw back was once considered a luxury.

To the Yankees’ credit, they’ve proven adept at finding and developing relief pitchers — whether in under-the-radar trades (Holmes and Peralta), minor league deals (Luetge) or their own minor leaguers (Loaisiga and more recently Ron Marinaccio and Albert Abreu).

They’ll likely need more than a roster change to replace King, not to mention Green and the uncertainty surrounding Britton.

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