The Yankees managed to escape April mostly free from notable injuries, but apparently, they couldn’t make it all the way to the finish line unscathed. Prior to Saturday afternoon’s game against the Tigers, the team announced a minor change in their bullpen — veteran sidearmer Darren O’Day is going on the injured list with a right rotator cuff strain.
O’Day had been a steady new addition to the team, striking out a batter an inning with a 3.00 ERA, 3.52 FIP, and 1.111 WHIP across 10 games and 9 innings of work. However, his last few outings had been a bit dicier than others, and now we know the reason.
Manager Aaron Boone said that O’Day had been dealing with a “cranky shoulder” and it finally got to the point where the team couldn’t let the 38-year-old fight through it. He will be shut down for “a few weeks” and reevaluated from there.
In the meantime, the injury allowed the Yankees to recall Michael King earlier than expected. Normally, he’d have had to wait 10 days from his last demotion on April 29th to bring him back, but the IL move granted an exception. It’s good that this provision is in place too because King has been excellent in all three appearances out of the ‘pen in 2021, providing shutout ball in 11 innings with a 2.80 FIP and 0.727 WHIP.
The only question is if the Yankees will let King hang around the bullpen for awhile with O’Day out, or if they’ll continue to shuffle him between New York and Scranton to bring in fresh arms. (I vote for the former.) The O’Day injury is unfortunate because he’s usually so effective while also offering a flummoxing look for opposing batters, but at least the Yankees have good backup options.