Yankees: NYY promote surprising Zack Britton replacement in roster shuffle


The Yankees are replacing Zack Britton with an unexpected young arm.

The Yankees lost a heartbreaker on Wednesday night, with Zack Britton faltering in the eighth and coming up lame in the process.

Britton went into the MRI tube on Thursday morning after receiving treatment immediately in the aftermath of his poor outing, and though Aaron Boone only admitted an IL stint was “possible,” we upped that to “probable” immediately.

We were right; he hit the IL minutes later.

But who gets Britton’s roster spot? Recently-demoted Ben Heller was the leader in the clubhouse, and the eternally plugged-in Jack Curry dropped an alternate proposal earlier in the morning. Turns out, Curry was completely right.

From Curry’s mouth to the Yankees’ ears — here’s what he pitched about a half hour before the news dropped.

Britton’s absence will come at a relatively opportune time for the Yankees, with theoretically enough time for him to heal before the postseason, and concurrent with Aroldis Chapman’s arrival in the locker room. Tommy Kahnle’s not walking through that door, but Chapman will handle the ninth, and Adam Ottavino and Chad Green’s roles won’t change all that much.

As for the new kid? Miguel Yajure (pronounced like “Yahoo, Ray!”), just 22 years old, posted an effortless and in-control season in 2019, mostly at High-A Tampa, with a cameo in Trenton. Blessed with a cutter and great command, Yajure pitched to a 2.26 ERA in 127.2 innings, walking only 28 men.

Perhaps the “safest” bet of the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, Yajure ranks 15th on MLB Pipeline’s latest Top 30 Prospects list, and his estimated arrival in the bigs was next season, regardless.

The timing could be right for Yajure to slide seamlessly into a shorter-term Michael King-type role, while Jonathan Loaisiga slips into the later innings for some higher-leverage work.

Yajure’s command and control are the most intriguing factors for us here. In blowouts and middle innings, the Yankees simply need someone they can trust to put the ball where they want it. Nothing volatile, nothing risky.

Wise beyond his years, the young Yajure could be the rookie for the job.