Yankees fans already knew that the team was about to get a bullpen boost in the form of trade deadline acquisition Scott Effross for the opener of a four-game set against the Red Sox on Thursday night. The former Cubs right-hander isn’t the only reliever returning from injury, though.
About half an hour ago, reports began to emerge on Twitter of Zack Britton’s pending activation. The two-time All-Star closer was a terrific setup man for the Yankees as recently as 2020, but a nightmare 2021 ended in Tommy John surgery. Since the procedure was done that August, there was a very real chance that with free agency pending after 2022, Britton had thrown his final pitch in pinstripes. However, his rehab over the past 13 months has gone well with no major setbacks, and after eight rehab appearances across the Yankees’ system, the southpaw is ready to return.
The groundball specialist will have a mostly solid supporting cast in his infield defense, and with the Yankees’ relief corps in need of a boost given closer Clay Holmes recent struggles (among others), Britton should have a good chance to carve out a potential playoff role as the team creeps closer to the postseason, even though he won’t be allowed to work on back-to-back days. Like Effross, Britton at his best is a highly useful pitcher for Aaron Boone to have in his bullpen quiver.
The importance of these two relievers’ returns was only highlighted by the corresponding active roster move to bring Britton aboard. Lefty Wandy Peralta is heading to the IL with a “back issue.”
Boone confirms on @ESPNNY98_7FM that Wandy Peralta is going on the IL with a back issue.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 22, 2022
Peralta is not the flashiest pitcher in the bullpen by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s quietly been Boone’s most reliable man out there. The peaks of Holmes, Aroldis Chapman, and Jonathan Loáisiga are high, but each player has seen IL stints and streaks of massive inconsistency at various points of 2022. Peralta, meanwhile, has pitched to a 2.72 ERA, 2.86 FIP, and 1.047 WHIP while allowing just a pair of homers in 56.1 innings — the second-highest total on the team, behind only Holmes.
The lefty has never really wavered, which is partially what made his outing on Sunday in Milwaukee so unsettling. It was the first time all year long that he entered and failed to retire a batter, as he allowed three hits in a row during 12-6 ballgame, forcing Boone to call on Holmes to finish the game (after a couple scares of his own). Peralta was active but didn’t pitch during the two-game set against the Pirates, and now he’s on the shelf. The Yankees seem to think that this is a minor injury and that he will be back for the final regular season series of 2022, a four-game set in Texas from October 3-5.
Since Britton was on the 60-day IL, there will need to be a another corresponding 40-man move to fully activate him. That has not yet been announced, but we’ll update you when it’s reported.
The Yankees have made the following roster moves:— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 22, 2022
• Placed LHP Wandy Peralta on the 15-day IL (retroactive to 9/19) with left thoracic spine tightness.
• Returned from rehab and reinstated LHP Zack Britton from the 60-day IL.
• Designated INF/OF Miguel Andújar for assignment.
The moves are official, and the 40-man transaction is one that has felt like an inevitability for quite awhile.
Miguel Andújar has been designated for assignment. The shoulder surgery that derailed his 2019 really destroyed the once-promising Yankees tenure that began with his Rookie of the Year runner-up season in 2018. He got blocked by the Gio Urshela, and then when given opportunities at various points from 2020-22 (including two full months in the lineup in 2021), the already-shaky defender never hit like he did in ‘18. Combined, he had a .244/.272/.346 triple slash with a 72 OPS+ in 93 games over the past three years, and just a 52 OPS+ in 100 plate appearances in 2022. Maybe Andújar will find an opening in another organization and can start anew in 2023; either way, we wish nothing but the best for him.