Aaron Judge drama, Anthony Rizzo injury overshadow pitching losses for Yankees

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals
New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals / Kyle Rivas/GettyImages

Gerrit Cole might be returning Wednesday. Ben Rice might've made his MLB debut to much fanfare on Tuesday. Aaron Judge might've avoided a massive injury disaster. But the New York Yankees just took a considerable hit to their pitching staff.

On Tuesday, before all the chaos ensued, the Yankees placed right-handers Cody Poteet and Ian Hamilton on the injured list. Hamilton, who will hit the IL for the second time this season, will probably miss six weeks of action. Poteet, who's been incredibly important filling in as a starter while the Yankees waited to get Cole and Clarke Schmidt back, has a triceps strain, which is rarely ever an injury you can breathe easy with.

This means the Yankees' bullpen will get even thinner as they wait for reinforcements that don't feel like they'll ever be coming. Scott Effross? Lou Trivino? Nick Burdi? Yeah, we'll see trade deadline upgrades before those three can be counted on.

Unfortunately, Hamilton hasn't exactly been "himself" in 2024. Fans are certainly aware that his 2023 performance was going to normalize, but not in the form of a 4.55 ERA and 1.58 WHIP with declining strikeout numbers. Even with that middling production, though, Hamilton is a valuable body in the 'pen.

As for Poteet, it's unclear how much time he'll miss, but he's been a godsend for New York. Across four starts, he owned a 2.14 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The only game the Yankees lost when he started was the 2-1 snoozefest against the Dodgers a couple weeks ago.

Aaron Judge drama, Anthony Rizzo injury overshadow pitching losses for Yankees

As you can see, it's easy for Aaron Judge's hit by pitch and injury scare to steal all the headlines. Same goes for Anthony Rizzo's likely eight-week absence due to a fractured forearm (that was followed by Rice's promotion).

Hamilton and Poteet missing time isn't going to be a death knell for this team, but it's yet another situation where the Yankees must "see what they have" before the trade deadline. Elevating Clayton Andrews and Anthony Misiewicz just isn't going to be a proper solution (plus Andrews was optioned back to Triple-A after Tuesday's game).

Right when they get Cole back to fortify the rotation, another key piece goes down that will further strain the unit. Right as Tommy Kahnle works to get himself back on track and Ron Marinaccio returns, the Yankees have to trade out another arm. This wasn't supposed to be a never-ending balancing act.

Thankfully, this team has figured out a way to navigate various difficult scenarios in the early going, so while this probably won't be an insurmountable challenge, it'll be something to closely monitor because of how overworked the pitching staff is.