Wh-what? Th-there’s an update about a Yankees injury and it’s g…good? Alright, everyone! You heard them! You can temporarily come out from under the rock now, as long as you don’t read any Anthony Rizzo-Astros rumors while you’re out there!
Unsurprisingly, Hal Steinbrenner chose to use the 2022 Yankees’ injuries as an excuse for the team coming up short once more against Houston. He even did so in the very same sentence where he vowed not to make any excuses.
Many of the team’s injury issues indicate the necessity of a change in policy and direction. After all, DJ LeMahieu and Josh Donaldson scuffling and breaking down should come as no surprise; both players are aging and come with a recent history of injury issues.
Some injuries were less predictable, though, like Andrew Benintendi’s freak wrist snap on a routine swing. Perhaps the most devastating was relief ace Michael King’s elbow frature in late July, just after the righty was snubbed from the All-Star Game.
As a rule, pitchers break. But that doesn’t make King’s non-UCL-tearing elbow fracture any less frustrating, and that moment seemed to begin the Yankees’ downward trajectory in August.
According to all doctors (the Yankees had better have consulted multiple doctors here!), King somehow evaded Tommy John surgery and expects to arrive at spring training with his full complement of dazzling breakers. The righty reliever popped in to post a throwing session on Monday, and we can only hope to draw a direct line from this video to Opening Day in the Bronx.
2023 Yankees need Michael King after throwing session video emerges
The Yankees ended 2022 without a defined closer, after Aroldis Chapman’s vaunted replacement Clay Holmes faltered, hit the IL, then rose again, but not quite high enough. The bullpen made some semblance of sense at the end of the season, but it was still supposed to include a full-strength Holmes, King in the eighth inning (and maybe the sixth and seventh, too), and Chad Green and Scott Effross in the back end mix.
The entered October with a solid bullpen quartet, but still wildly depleted in comparison to where they planned to be.
Effross will miss 2023, succumbing to surprise Tommy John surgery right before the ALDS. Green will miss most of the season, too, and will also be entering free agency. Having a healthy King — who erased multiple innings at a time effortlessly during April, May and June — will go a long way toward patching several holes at once.
Keep your fingers crossed, but Monday afternoon brought us the first visual representation of a good bullpen time in quite a while.