Yankees dodge bullet with Zack Britton update after his setback

Zack Britton #53 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Zack Britton #53 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

We hated to sound the alarm on Monday night, but we had no choice.

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the media that Zack Britton was set to see a specialist after he experienced soreness in his throwing elbow following one inning of work in a simulated game on Saturday.

That was his first action since undergoing elbow surgery a few months ago in the offseason, so there was no way fans couldn’t be concerned.

On top of that, the Yankees’ bullpen needs his presence in the back end. The unit has been overworked to begin the 2021 campaign and will need his high-leverage appearances to take pressure off the other guys.

Everyone was already reeling from the Giancarlo Stanton situation. First he was day-to-day, then it was the 10-day injured list.

For Britton, it was expected to be two weeks of rehab appearances, then a return at the end of the month. But then came elbow soreness that could have been much worse. Instead, it seems his return will be delayed by about a week.

Here’s the latest from MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

"“The Yankees received encouraging news regarding left-hander Zack Britton, who experienced soreness following his most recent simulated game and had a Minor League rehab assignment pushed back. Britton was examined on Monday and is said to be structurally sound; Boone said Britton could resume throwing as soon as this weekend.”"

OK! Not bad. Britton was set to throw on Tuesday in an appearance with Double-A Somerset, but now it’s unclear what he’ll be doing next. Will he just wait until Saturday to join the Patriots? Or will he throw another simulated game?

Fortunately, there’s no need to rush Britton back. The Yankees’ bullpen ERA (2.93) is third in MLB while their WHIP (1.04) and batting average against (.194) are tops. They have guys stepping up in just about every area, whether it’s in long relief, middle relief, or in tight situations.

That makes it all the more encouraging that Britton’s doing OK. When he returns, it’ll be really difficult to envision opposing lineups being able to penetrate this bullpen at all. Sure, it’ll happen every once in a while, but as long as all the arms are healthy, prepared and properly built up for the postseason, the Yankees will be hopefully be shutting the door in an overwhelming majority of close games.