The New York Yankees will shut down Tommy Kahnle following his MRI.
Tommy Kahnle may have saved the young Yankees season on Sunday afternoon, when he uncorked a series of nasty changeups to dismiss Starlin Castro and Eric Thames with men in scoring position for the Nationals.
Just days later, it appears he may have sacrificed himself for that singular shining moment.
When Kahnle was nowhere to be seen in the eighth inning Thursday night, with Jonathan Loaisiga working a third inning (and blowing the game, temporarily) in his stead, the Yankees Twitter mob came for Aaron Boone’s head. As it turned out, there was a lot more to the decision.
Kahnle, following in the footsteps of many pitchers across the game who’ve suffered setbacks and all-new injuries after an aggressive summer ramp-up period, has been shut down with forearm tightness, and had an MRI on Friday afternoon.
The pain emerged two days prior to Thursday’s game, when Kahnle tried to work out in Baltimore following his Sunday outing, then two consecutive days of rest, holed up in a hotel in Philadelphia.
Hence, the righty’s mysterious and cryptic absence from the Yankees’ 8-6 win on Thursday night.
Hours later, the dreaded news dropped: yes, the injury was to the UCL, the most common precursor to Tommy John surgery.
You knew it, but now you know it know it.
Can the Yankees bullpen withstand Kahnle’s absence? Sure. They have an overload of depth in that area, and they’re receiving Aroldis Chapman back sometime this weekend after his second consecutive negative COVID-19 test, which many originally suspected Kahnle had been felled by, too.
However, just because he’s replaceable, technically speaking, doesn’t mean he isn’t invaluable. Kahnle’s devastating change is a singular weapon. Personality-wise, he also happens to be a fan favorite of the vast majority of this fanbase.
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If the MRI comes back the way we fear it might, Kahnle will be missing the full 2021 season, too, just because he participated in this wretched partial season that should never have started. That’s just not right.
Of course, there’s no guarantee Kahnle wouldn’t have succumbed to injury anyway. But the timing and wide-ranging impact just feels rotten.