Yankees lose key reliever, deliver bad Tommy Kahnle news in massive roster shuffle
By Mike Luciano
The New York Yankees have already withstood some serious broadsides on the injury front this season thanks to names like Carlos Rodon going down early, but many of the key players remained healthy in the early stages of the 2023 campaign. At least, they did until their road series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Josh Donaldson's tough start to the season only got more complicated when an injury forced him to the 10-day DL. Losing one below-average hitter to injury is one thing, but losing a key member of the bullpen that is often trusted to wiggle out of jams is another.
Jonathan Loaisiga, fresh off pitching for Team Nicaragua in the World Baseball Classic, has been placed on the 15-day IL with elbow inflammation. Anytime the words "elbow" and "inflammation" are listed next to a standout, hard-throwing reliever, fans will get nervous.
To make matters worse, the Yankees' plan to rehabilitate Tommy Kahnle back to his old form took a serious step backward, as he was transferred to the 60-day IL. Willie Calhoun and Jhony Brito were called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees are once again being hit with multiple injuries to key starters all at once.
Yankees: Jonathan Loaisiga, Josh Donaldson, Tommy Kahnle to IL
Loaisiga's 4.13 ERA last season is very misleading, as he had a microscopic 1.76 ERA from July 17 onward. He figured to be the Yankees' top non-Clay Holmes reliever this season. Injuries have ravaged Kahnle to the point where it's fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank, as he has pitched in just 14 games during the past three seasons.
Expect names like Michael King and Ron Marinaccio to fill in the gaps during Loaisiga's absence. While both of them are coming off very strong seasons in 2022, losing a young, ascending pitcher with a sinker that can touch triple digits is never going to be a favorable situation.
Calhoun will be making his Yankees debut after years of trying and failing to make it as an everyday player with the Texas Rangers. The 5-7 outfielder doesn't bring great defense to the table, but he has enough power to run into a couple of mistake pitches and park them in the seats.
It wouldn't be a Yankees April without promising players like Loaisiga and established starters like Donaldson missing time with some serious ailments. Calhoun and Ian Hamilton will have to help bail water as the Yankees try to stay alive in their absences.