Yankees Notebook: Justin Wilson takes first step back; Deivi Garcia not too bummed out about demotion

Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News
·4 min read

TAMPA — Justin Wilson threw Saturday for the first time since being shut down with shoulder tightness on Monday. The left-hander said afterwards he is not sure he will have to start the season on the injured list.

“I’m not sure, I don’t think that’s been set in stone either way,” Wilson said. “I know that they’ve got a few things they want to see, a checklist, but it was a great step and it feels really fresh and I am in the right spot.”

Wilson left Monday night’s game after he could not get the shoulder to loosen up. An MRI showed “nothing actionable,” but he was shut down and treated with anti-inflammatories. Saturday, Wilson did about 80% of his throwing program.

“Today was the first day back throwing. Got all the way up to 90 feet,” WIlson said. “So it was really normal.”

That could be a boost for a bullpen that was already trying to absorb the loss of Zack Britton. Britton was diagnosed early in spring training with a bone chip that required surgery, Wilson was seen as a natural replacement. Britton is expected to miss around three months.

The Yankees signed Wilson, who they had in 2015, to a one-year deal with an option for 2022 as part of their bullpen reshaping this winter. After dumping Adam Ottavino’s $9 million salary on the Red Sox, the Yankees added Wilson and Darren O’Day.

The Yankees have familiar faces in lefties Nestor Cortes Jr. and Tyler Lyons, both of whom pitched for the Yankees in 2019, here on minor league deals. Lyons also pitched for the Bombers in 2020.

They also brought lefty Lucas Luetge into camp on a minor league deal. Luetge has opened eyes this spring with six scoreless appearances. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings on Monday. He has 16 strikeouts and has pitched to a 1.93 ERA this spring.


Deivi Garcia was not deterred by Friday’s decision to send him to the minors. The right-hander, who impressed in his rookie season last year, knows that he will put himself in a position to be the first starter called up when they need an extra arm.

“I know that if I keep doing my work and stay healthy another opportunity is going to come like last year,” Garcia said through translator Marlon Abreu. “It is up to me to stay with my work, keep doing what I need to do and hopefully the opportunity will come around again like last year.”

Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier this week, confirming righty Domingo German’s place as the No. 5 starter to begin the year. Garcia pitched to a 3.86 ERA in 14 spring innings, making five starts.

“We continue to be really excited about Deivi and the strides that he’s continued to make in his craft,” said manager Aaron Boone. “The message to him that I tried to convey was, ‘Stay ready, we’re going to need you. You’re going to be a big part of this. Make sure you’re handling your business down there as far as putting yourself in line to be the guy we go to.’”


After picking up the contract on Jay Bruce, the Yankees released catcher Robinson Chirinos and utility man Derek Dietrich, the two other players in camp on minor league contracts. Boone would not say the roster is set, however, so infielder Tyler Wade still is awaiting official confirmation.

“We’ll meet again today. So I wouldn’t say necessarily,” Boone said when asked if the roster was set. “I mean, there could be more things (falling) in place still, you never know.”

The Yankees also moved pitcher Clarke Schmidt to the 60-day injury list. He has been shut down since straining his elbow in his first bullpen of spring.

“He’s close, but hopefully in the next several days, if he starts being able to play catch, that ramp up would be six, seven or eight weeks,” Boone said. “He’s going to need at least a full spring training for as long as he has spent out.”