Shortly after the trade deadline, Jonathan Loaisiga projects to loom as a timely addition for a club that has missed him.
The bullpen has not been the Yankees’ problem, but the relievers have shown signs of wearing down.
The biggest strength for the Yankees for the season’s first three months has been a surprising weakness in July.
The Yankees entered Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals in The Bronx with a 4.95 bullpen ERA this month, which was the 11th worst in baseball in the span.
If the majority of the bullpen’s arms are tired, Loaisiga’s should be fresh.
The veteran has been out since April 5 with what was initially diagnosed as right elbow inflammation.
A bone spur was then removed in May.
Loaisiga has returned to the mound and threw a 16-pitch simulated inning against Aaron Judge on Sunday, not allowing Judge to put a ball into play.
“I thought Lo looked great,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s really encouraging to see Lo, command- and stuff-wise. That looked like Lo in the playoffs almost right there. That was really encouraging.”
Loaisiga said he threw everything — four-seamer, sinker, slider and changeup — and felt “really good.”
“I feel like my arm strength is there. Feel healthy,” Loaisiga said through interpreter Marlon Abreu. “Looking forward to getting back and helping the team.”
The 28-year-old is expected to fly to Tampa and throw another sim game Wednesday that should include two approximated innings, Boone said. He likely will begin a rehab assignment next weekend.
Loaisiga had his struggles last season, but rediscovered his stuff and bounced back into the shutdown reliever he typically has been for the Yankees.
“We know what we have there,” Boone said.
The Yankees activated outfielders Jake Bauers and Greg Allen from the 10-day injured list and optioned outfielder Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Oswaldo Cabrera had been sent down Saturday night.
Bauers missed 12 games after suffering a left rotator cuff contusion on July 5.
After impressing in his first 49 major league games this season (.782 OPS), Bauers hit leadoff Sunday.
“Excited to get him back,” Boone said of Bauers, who went 7-for-9 in a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “He’s swung the bat well the last couple of days.”
Allen returns as a speedy fourth outfielder capable of playing solid defense and contributing as a pinch-runner.
That role is a bit more valuable than it has been in past seasons, as the league has tweaked rules to inject more stolen bases into the game.
Allen had played with the bigger bases and limited pickoff attempts in the minor leagues.
When he learned MLB would bring the rule changes to the big leagues, he said he “definitely didn’t hate it.”
Harrison Bader, who had entered Saturday’s game in the eighth inning, returned to the starting lineup for the first time since getting drilled in the ribs Wednesday.
UConn men’s basketball coach and reigning national champion Dan Hurley threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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