Yankees nearing return of key bullpen reinforcement

Yankees nearing return of key bullpen reinforcement

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite boasting one of the best bullpens in baseball with the second-lowest ERA at 2.58, the Yankees are still looking to bolster their pitching staff due to several key players rehabilitating from injuries and a reliance on newcomers to fill the gaps.

Tommy Kahnle’s Anticipated Return

The Yankees are eagerly anticipating the return of Tommy Kahnle, one of their more costly relief pitchers. At 34 years old, Kahnle delivered impressive statistics last season, recording a 2.66 ERA across 40.2 innings with 10.62 strikeouts per nine and maintaining an 82.1% left-on-base rate along with a 49% ground ball rate. His ability to induce ground balls and strike out batters makes him an ideal fit for Yankee Stadium, which is why general manager Brian Cashman invested $11.5 million over two years in his services.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, tommy kahnle
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In recent years, the Yankees have opted not to splurge on bullpen arms, instead acquiring them through trades while they still have arbitration years remaining. Kahnle has been on the mend from a shoulder injury, encountering a minor setback a few weeks ago, but has since resumed his rehab assignment. His latest outing on Tuesday marked his third rehab appearance, including two at Single-A and one at Double-A, during which he struck out six batters and allowed no hits across three innings.

Yankees’ Strategic Decisions and Future Prospects

Kahnle’s performance suggests he is ready to advance to Triple-A for a few games before rejoining the Yankees’ bullpen. Upon his return, the team will face decisions regarding their pitching lineup, with 28-year-old Dennis Santana potentially becoming the odd man out due to his 4.58 ERA over 17.2 innings this season.

Additionally, the Yankees are optimistic about the returns of Lou Trivino and Scott Effross later this summer, further strengthening their bullpen. With these upcoming reinforcements, the team may not need to seek external acquisitions, allowing them to utilize their prospects and existing roster more effectively to enhance other areas of the team.

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