Yankees send Jon Berti to IL, bring familiar reliever back before Game 2 in Cleveland

Big-time shuffle for the night game.
Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees
Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees / Al Bello/GettyImages

Somehow, Yankees utility infielder Jon Berti managed to injure his midsection, which appears to be a rite of passage in the Bronx these days. Hmm. How'd that happen? Did he head-long dive at any poin - oh. Yeah. That could've been it.

Other than that game-saving stop in Houston, Berti hasn't gotten himself together early this season or been on base enough to show off his wheels. At his best, he's a rock-solid bench addition. Unfortunately, early on in 2024, he's mostly been viewed as a reason Oswaldo Cabrera isn't playing.

Berti will head to the IL with what was initially called an "adductor issue" on Saturday, then became a left groin strain when the Yankees announced it; he'll be replaced by lifelong Yankee fan/Long Island native Kevin Smith. It's nice to see him get a shot with the big club, though not in an ideal context.

Yankees send Jon Berti to IL, promote Ron Marinaccio

In this instance, Berti's time off his feet will allow the Yankees to ride the hot hand in Cabrera a little long. DJ LeMahieu appears to be on the road to recovery; Smith will act as insurance until then.

Also returning, notably, is Ron Marinaccio. Josh Maciejewski's Yankees career consists of a clean ninth inning against Miami, as of now, but Marinaccio's has a bit more color. He was the young darling of the Yankees bullpen in 2022, striking out 56 in 44 innings before succumbing to a shin fracture just before the postseason.

Last year, things didn't go quite so well. He struck out 56 men, just as he had the year before. He walked 27, as opposed to 24 the previous year. Instead of escaping unscathed, though, he allowed six homers (vs. a pair in 2022) and 35 hits, posting a 3.99 ERA. Things got even worse in Scranton; he allowed 16 runs (15 earned) in 15 1/3 innings, walking 18 men.

Now, the Yankees will get a chance to see up close if he's turned a corner to begin 2024. Five one-hit Triple-A innings across three outings marred by just a single walk? That could certainly play in back of Cody Poteet on Saturday evening.