LOS ANGELES — Tommy Kahnle finally returned to the mound on Friday night, and though his top fastball velocity did not immediately come with him, the Yankees were overall encouraged by the outing.
Six months after he signed on for a third stint with the Yankees, Kahnle made his season debut with a scoreless inning of relief on Friday in a loss to the Dodgers.
“It felt really good,” said Kahnle, who missed the first two months with right biceps tendinitis. “Obviously I didn’t like the results, but I guess I also put up a zero. At the end of the day, I felt good, so that’s a positive and we’ll work on the others.”
Kahnle was activated off the injured list on Thursday and jumped right into action on Friday, working around a double and a walk by getting a strikeout to escape the jam.
He leaned on his changeup, throwing it for 23 of his 29 pitches while his five fastballs averaged 94.2 mph — down from the 95.5 mph he averaged in limited action last season.
“Still working to get that life on the heater, though he was sitting in that 94-95 [range],” manager Aaron Boone said of Kahnle, who did not pitch in the Yankees’ 6-3 win on Saturday . “But he had a good changeup going. It was good to see him, when he did get up in that mid-20s [pitch count], keep making pitches to work his way out of the inning.”
Kahnle said he might just need to get more innings under his belt in order to get the life back on his fastball.
“Just kind of getting out there and getting with the flow of the game again,” Kahnle said. “I’d assume just more reps, the more time I can work on fastball command. I didn’t like where it was at today.”
The 33-year-old, who signed a two-year, $11.5 million deal with the Yankees, added a sinker to his repertoire over the offseason, though he did not throw any on Friday night.
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