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DETROIT — Hours after he gave up the game-winning home run in the 10th inning of the Yankees’ loss to the Tigers Friday night, Justin Wilson was placed on the injured list. It was not the shoulder which had bothered him this spring, but a right hamstring strain that has him on the 10-day IL.
“It’s been something that’s been a little bit nagging him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Saturday’s game against the Tigers at Comerica Park. “I think it was something that was kind of minor that obviously he was able to kind of work through and pitch through. But I just feel like obviously, his season getting started a little bit late with the shoulder issue, then dealing with a little bit of a calf (issue) and then the hamstring, I think when we add it all up these being contributing factors to him not having that consistent life on his fastball.”
“He’s talked about not being really strong and repeating his delivery real well. I think when we look at it these are all things we have to consider,” Boone continued. “Hopefully allowing him to work out some things mechanically will get him in a better place because obviously we know what he’s capable of and we know how important it is to be durable.”
Wilson said the shoulder felt fine on Friday night, but admitted something was off this season. The left-hander, who gave up a two-run homer to Robbie Grossman — a pitch after thinking he had gotten a called third strike — in the Yankees 3-2 loss to the lowly Tigers has allowed nine earned runs in 13.1 innings this season. He has walked six, struck out 12 and given up four home runs — including two in his last two appearances. The lefty has the highest flyball rate of his career at 34% and has a noticeable drop off in the vertical movement on his slider, according to Baseball Savant.
“I haven’t pitched well, but I own that,” Wilson said. “For a while there, I think my delivery was bad, but now when I got back on track, I made a couple bad pitches and I paid for it.”
So too have the Yankees, who added Wilson on a $5.15 million, one-year deal after dumping Adam Ottavino’s $9 million salary on the Red Sox. With Wilson’s inconsistency, the Yankees felt the need to make the move for another left-hander in Wandy Peralta. While he has been terrific for the Yankees, it did cost them outfielder Mike Tauchman. That have certainly felt his absence when they lost Aaron Hicks for the season to wrist surgery.
They will have lefty set-up man Zack Britton, who starts his rehab assignments on Saturday, coming back in about two weeks. From the left-handed side, they already have Peralta and Lucas Luetge, who has apparently passed Wilson in the pecking order.
With Wilson going on the IL, the Yankees currently have nine players down with injuries. He is one of the 17 players the Yankees have placed on the IL this season.
BRITTON BACK ON THE BUMP
Zack Britton threw 18 pitches, 10 for strikes for Double-A Somerset in his first minor league rehab appearance after elbow surgery. The lefty reliever said his arm felt good.
“It was pretty good. Obviously not as sharp as I want to be. Similar to my first of spring. Arm feels good. Good to get out there... with fans. Haven’t pitched in front of fans in a year or so,” Britton said. “Just getting used to everything again, getting on a mound again, facing a different jersey. Looking forward to polishing all my pitches up.”
Britton, who had surgery to remove bone chips from his left elbow in mid-March, will be eased through the rehab assignment and not do back-to-back appearances.
“At this point in my career, I don’t feel like I need them,” Britton said.
The Yankees want him two have two days after Saturday’s appearance to let the elbow bounce back.
We’ll probably have two [days] down on Sunday, Monday and then pitch again Tuesday would be the plan,” Boone explained. “I would say around four to six wouldn’t be right.”
Boone said Britton will go every other day after the initial appearance. He is returning to a bullpen, despite Friday night meltdown by Justin Wilson, has been the one consistent for the Yankees this season.