In a frustrating (developing) Yankees tradition, a core reliever (or two) has departed far too early each of the past few years.
In 2021, it was sidearmer Darren O'Day, who was inked in the offseason and didn't last more than 11 innings in his quest to become essential. Later in the summer, Zack Britton and his barking elbow joined O'Day on the shelf.
In 2022? Powerhouse righty Chad Green left the roster in mid-May of his free agent walk year, ultimately needing Tommy John surgery. He was indirectly replaced by Lou Trivino later that summer, who eventually became the 2023 recipient of the Darren O'Day Memorial Arm Injury. Poetry in motion.
Green's free agency obviously wasn't the frenzy he was targeting, but his former AL East rival, the Toronto Blue Jays, took a flyer on him anticipating a second-year Tommy John comeback. The fruits of their financial labor appear to be on the verge of paying off; Green topped out at 95.3 MPH in a rehab outing on Aug. 2 with designs on leaping into Toronto's corps for the stretch run.
A scary moment on Tuesday might've derailed that progress, though, at least temporarily. Green was hit on the head by a throw from the catcher to second base. He was alert and speaking with trainers, which is good. He still left the game for examination, which is quite bad.
Former Yankees reliever Chad Green being watched for head injury
Results of Green's examination are forthcoming, but hopefully this ends up a close call rather than a season-changer for the embattled righty.
Hoping to cash in on a contract once more when healthy, Green has stormed back at the Triple-A level with 6.2 shutout innings (with 7 Ks) in six total outings. The righty is now 32 years old, and will be under contract with Toronto again next season. They banked on paying for his successful rehab, and will hope to get the very best of Green in the make-or-break second year of his uniquely structured $8.5 million deal.
It'll take a big season from Green to guarantee him any more than two additional years of control after he hits the market at 33. The fewer bumps and bruises, the better for the workhorse from here on out. Hopefully, Tuesday's scare is nothing but a blip.