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Yankees place Luis Severino on IL with lat strain, activate Jonathan Loáisiga

The Yankees’ 2021 relief ace is back, but their homegrown righty starter took his place on the IL.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Yankees Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The transaction wire has been busier today than it normally is for the Yankees. Earlier, they brought former infielder Tyler Wade back to the organization via trade and sent him to Triple-A. Then, they had to deal with the good news/bad news game in relation to a couple key pitchers.

On the positive front, Jonathan Loáisiga is back. The breakout star of the 2021 bullpen had a 2.17 ERA, 2.58 FIP, and 1.019 WHIP last year in 70.2 innings, surrendering just three homers all year long as he stabilized high-leverage situations with setup man Zack Britton doomed for Tommy John surgery and closer Aroldis Chapman battling his own injuries and control problems.

However, early on in 2022, it was clear that something wasn’t right with Loáisiga, who had already matched his 2021 total of homers allowed in 54 fewer innings. His ERA was an unsightly 7.02 and there weren’t many positives to find. On May 22nd, he hit the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Loáisiga recently made rehab appearances with Low-A Tampa and Triple-A Scranton, and the team deemed the 27-year-old ready for a return. I’d expect to see him in action tonight.

Hopefully, he resembles the Loáisiga of 2021, or at least doesn’t resemble the 2022 version in any way, shape, or form.

The downside to Loáisiga’s return is that Luis Severino is now officially on the injured list after leaving his Wednesday night start with right shoulder tightness. Technically, Loáisiga is taking JP Sears’ roster spot in wake of the lefty’s demotion last night, but it’s really just semantics since long reliever Ryan Weber is back with the team too for extra support.

As noted above, Severino’s official injury is a low grade right lat strain.

That classification is concerning on its own since he missed almost the entire 2019 season with a lat strain, but one point of optimism is that neither the Yankees nor Sevy think that this is quite as dire. Low grade lat strains typically take two-to-three weeks to recover from, and in his first full season after Tommy John surgery, Severino was probably going to need to watch his innings anyway. He has thrown 86 quality frames for the rotation already after only tossing 27.2 between the 2019-21 seasons (including playoffs). In an ideal world, this IL stint will give Severino some much-needed rest as well, and he’ll return with a healthy August.

I choose to believe in this ideal world because the alternative makes me sad. Meanwhile, the Yankees will likely choose from Sears, the soon-to-return Domingo Germán, or Clarke Schmidt to replace Severino in the rotation as they peruse the trade market (like tonight’s opposing starter, for instance). Sevy’s spot won’t come up again until after the All-Star break though, hence Weber’s return. So the team can take its time.