The New York Yankees’ bullpen has been one of best in MLB across the first two and a half months of the season, but it let them down at the most inopportune time on Thursday.
As we know, the Yankees were three outs away from leaving Minnesota with a three-game sweep, but closer Aroldis Chapman surrendered four runs on just nine (!) pitches, including the walk-off blast to Nelson Cruz to cap a disaster outing.
Fans have expressed their concerns about the bullpen being taxed early on in the year, and understandably so.
After all, you can’t help but wonder if the Yankees’ relievers can sustain the lack of depth in the rotation and inability of some starters to work deep into games.
Luckily for the bullpen, however, they will welcome back one of their most trusted commodities ahead of New York’s weekend series against the Phillies.
Just a few hours before first pitch on Saturday, the Yankees confirmed the activation of Zack Britton from the 60-day injured list. In a pair of corresponding moves, New York also designated Mike Ford for assignment and optioned Brooks Kriske to Triple-A.
The Yankees activated Zack Britton before their series vs the Phillies.
What a huge boost for the Yankees’ overworked bullpen, right?
The latest buzz suggested Britton could rejoin the club as early as Saturday and those rumors shockingly ended up being accurate. Given the Yankees’ history in terms of speculating return dates for injured players, this was a refreshing change of pace.
Britton tossed a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Thursday, which was a sight for sore eyes after the 33-year-old southpaw imploded in his previous rehab outing when he allowed four runs and retired just one batter. .
Britton, of course, has yet to appear in a game for the Yanks in 2021. The two-time All-Star battled COVID-19 during the offseason and faced another setback in spring training when he underwent surgery to remove a bone chip in his elbow.
In more good news for Yankees fans, the club announced Luis Severino, who’s currently on his own rehab assignment as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, has been transferred from Low-A Tampa to High-A Hudson Valley.
It remains to be seen when Severino will rejoin the rotation, but this update suggests the star right-hander is making the required strides in his recovery.
As for Ford, well, his fate was sealed a long time ago. The Yankees simply never had a good enough reason to officially cut bait with him. Today they did, and now he’s gone.