Yankees put damper on home opener by sending top reliever to 60-Day IL

Who saw this coming?
New York Yankees v Houston Astros
New York Yankees v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Despite Jonathan Loaisiga's status as a long-time bullpen stalwart, Yankees manager Aaron Boone still seemed trepidacious about the possibility of extending him a contract for 2024 when he spoke about the right-hander last fall.

After Loaisiga went down in September, with a non-tender deadline looming when the offseason arrived, Boone did not mince words about the electric righty's availability problem, stating, "When he’s going good, I don’t know if there’s much better in the league, frankly. But his seasons have been interrupted pretty much every year."

Ultimately, cooler heads prevailed, the Yankees realized that any sum of money was worth the risk given Loaisiga's talent, and the team opted to bring him back for another year of playing the Injury Waiting Game.

Unfortunately, this one lasted even less time than usual. Loaisiga was, surprisingly (yet not surprisingly), placed on the 60-Day IL on Friday morning with a right flexor strain (elbow issue). To not even ... entertain the flight of fancy that this might only be a 15-Day IL injury tells you all you need to know.

Yankees lose Jonathan Loaisiga to 60-Day IL with elbow issue

Dennis Santana is the corresponding move, and the former Dodger might just stick around a while, given how nebulous Tommy Kahnle's recovery has been in recent weeks; his rehab process has reportedly slowed down, too. That's a rehab process for an injury that originated last season, for those keeping track.

To say the Yankees have been able to effectively piece together a bullpen, based on the season's first week, would be an understatement; Boone has both pressed the right buttons, and been given a slate of arms capable of handling several different types of calamities. But in losing Loaisiga, the Yankees do lose a key chess piece, and one they claimed this offseason they intended to use to replace Michael King in multi-inning duty.

Given Loaisiga's elbow tenderness, that felt like a disaster from the time it was announced in early February, and by the first week of April, the consequences of such faith have already reared their ugly head. That will likely be Ian Hamilton's role for the foreseeable future, as New York plods on one arm short of their Opening Week plans. Predictably.

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