The 2021 season has been one from hell for New York Yankees reliever Zack Britton. Once viewed as the top bullpen arm on this team, the left-hander’s situations on and off the field have spiraled out of control.
First came an offseason bout with COVID-19, which he described as horrific. Then came an elbow issue early in spring training, and it later required surgery, knocking him out of action until mid-June. Then he dealt with soreness in that same elbow, which didn’t help his rehab.
After that, a hamstring injury knocked him out for nearly a month. Since then, he’s been dreadful. A 5.89 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in 22 games has drastically affected the once-dominant bullpen.
Now, unfortunately, Britton is back on the injured list with elbow inflammation and it’s starting to sound as if his season — and Yankees career — could be nearing the end.
Manager Aaron Boone spoke to reporters on Tuesday before the game against the Atlanta Braves and revealed surgery could be “in play” for the veteran.
He’ll visit Dr. Neal Elattrache, a famous doctor who performs many Tommy John surgeries on professional pitchers, while the Yankees are on their West Coast road trip starting on Thursday.
The Yankees may have seen the last of Zack Britton in 2021 … and forever.
Obviously nothing is confirmed until Britton gets this next expert medical opinion, but it’s really not looking good, especially with the endless struggles he’s endured this year. Fans have been suspecting something was the matter with him given this has been his worst stretch of games since … he was still a starting pitcher back in 2013.
Once he transitioned to a bullpen role, Britton’s had a sterling 2.01 ERA in 393 career games! That means it was well under 2.00 before this year inflated those numbers.
It’s come to the point where he had to tell Boone that he no longer deserves to be utilized in save situations, which came after Tim Anderson walked him off to secure a White Sox victory in the Field of Dreams game. Absolutely nothing until this injury-plagued year suggested Britton was no longer an elite relief option, which is why it’s hard to feel optimistic about his upcoming examination.
Even worse? If Britton needs Tommy John, it’s likely that Aug. 19 against the Twins was the last time we’ll ever see him in a Yankees uniform. Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.