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Yankees reliever Justin Wilson exits spring training game with shoulder injury

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The 33-year-old reliever is having a rocky start to his reunion with the Yankees.

Wild Card Game - Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

It’s not even the regular season, and the Yankees’ bullpen has already sustained another apparent injury. Justin Wilson, who was brought on in relief in the seventh inning, exited Monday’s game against the Phillies without recording an out.

The veteran lefty delivered a 2-2 fastball low in the zone to Odubel Herrera, and immediately gestured to the Yankees’ training staff, indicating he knew something was not right. He left the game without throwing another pitch.

Soon after Wilson departed, the team announced that he departed with tightness in his left shoulder. When the game ended, Aaron Boone said that Wilson felt like he “couldn’t get lose” on the mound and would undergo an MRI tomorrow.

Wilson was having quite a rocky start to his reunion in pinstripes after having been brought in on a complex, luxury tax-avoiding contract over the winter. He’d been shelled in his past few outings — even coughing up a grand slam in his first game of the spring — and surrendered a two-run homer to Didi Gregorius earlier in the inning on Monday. Wilson’s slight dip in velocity might not be a good sign, either:

Wilson was quite effective for the Mets last season, with a 3.66 ERA, 3.06 ERA, and 26.7 percent strikeout rate, and the Yankees are hoping for that version come the regular season rather than the 23.14 ERA version of the spring. However, if the Yankees are without Wilson for the start of the season, then that only further opens the door for a Lucas Luetge and/or Nick Nelson to make the Opening Day roster.

Fingers crossed that the shoulder tightness is not a precursor to something worse for Wilson, though. The team is counting on him in 2021.