There’s no denying that over the Yankees’ first couple months of baseball in 2022, they were pretty fortunate. The only significant injury they faced in spring training was to backup catcher Ben Rortvedt, who was immediately replaced before the season even began by Jose Trevino. Then, through mid-May, the most they dealt with was fourth outfielder Tim Locastro going down with a lat injury. Unfortunate, but hey, they were rolling with a three-man bench for a long stretch anyway.
The past week has been a different story. Top pitching prospect Luis Gil was lost to Tommy John surgery. Reliable setup man Chad Green fell to the ol’ UCL tear as well. Joey Gallo, Josh Donaldson, and Kyle Higashioka have all spent time on the COVID-IL (Gallo will return tonight but it seems like Donaldson might not make the upcoming trip to Tampa), and wayward closer Aroldis Chapman was sent to the 15-day IL on Tuesday with an Achilles injury. DJ LeMahieu was scratched from yesterday’s game with left wrist soreness, and while his MRI came back clean, he will still probably miss a day or two after getting a cortisone shot.
So what’s another injury on the pile, right? It is a day that ends in -y, after all. In the spirit of failing health, the Yankees added two more players to the IL on Wednesday as Giancarlo Stanton and Jonathan Loáisiga both hit the shelf.
• Placed RHP Jonathan Loáisiga on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to 5/23) with right shoulder inflammation.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 25, 2022
• Placed DH/OF Giancarlo Stanton on the 10-day injured list with a right calf strain.
• Designated C Rob Brantly for assignment.
Stanton departed Tuesday night’s game with calf tightness and the team waited on his MRI results before making any transactions. Despite what the tweet above indicates, manager Aaron Boone said after Wednesday night’s game that Stanton has ankle inflammation:
Aaron Boone says Giancarlo Stanton actually does *not* have a right calf strain. It’s ankle inflammation.— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) May 26, 2022
He’s hopeful Stanton will be ready to return as soon as his 10 days on the IL are up.
Even in a healthy 2021, Stanton missed 13 games in May with a quad strain, so ideally, they’ll be able to get him back in a couple weeks when the ankle is doing better and he’ll go back to mashing. Ankle inflammation is certainly preferable to a calf strain.
It sucks to see Loáisiga go on the injured list with the Yankees already in a bad spot, but it would at least provide an explanation for his woes in 2022 after breaking out last season. Through 18 games, he has a 7.02 ERA and 5.11 FIP and unlike in 2021, he has struggled with his control (13.7 percent walk rate) and propensity for the longball (1.6 HR/9), and he hasn’t had much of a handle on his repertoire.
This is not the same pitcher. Now we might know the reason. The downside is that shoulder troubles are nothing new for Loáisiga. He had a rotator cuff strain toward the end of 2021, and in the minors, he also missed time with shoulder injuries in 2018 and 2019, not to mention the full 2014-15 seasons when he was a teenager in the Giants’ organization. As an added bonus, he had Tommy John surgery in 2016. It was indeed an arduous rise for Loáisiga to reach the top of his craft in 2021. Now, he’s in a tough spot again.
So what does the Yankees’ bullpen look like now? Well, they should be glad that Clay Holmes has continued his second-half dominance from last year because the rest of the group has been up and down. Here’s who is active at the moment:
- Clay Holmes (bubble wrap him please)
- Michael King (hot start to season has cooled of late)
- Miguel Castro (walks the ballpark)
- Lucas Luetge (hasn’t found his 2021 groove)
- Wandy Peralta (generally fine but won’t blow you away)
- Clarke Schmidt (could be used more!)
- Ron Marinaccio (rookie with six innings of experience)
- David McKay (pitched his second MLB game since 2019 on Sunday)
Long-ago top prospect Manny Bañuelos is also with the team on its taxi squad. Given that rookie JP Sears threw 84 pitches and was sent down after his spot start on Wednesday, the Yankees could activate Bañuelos for bullpen help during their upcoming series at Tropicana Field.
This just all goes to show how quickly depth can vanish at the drop of a hat. We can only hope that the rest of the Yankees’ roster doesn’t suffer a similar fate.
Note: An earlier version of this story only reported on Loáisiga going to the injured list.