The bulk of the Yankees’ injury return anticipation has been focused on Giancarlo Stanton, with Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader trailing behind in that order. But reliever Zack Britton could — could — end up being their biggest addition down the stretch.
The Bombers will start to find out if that will be the case Wednesday. Britton is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with the High-A Tampa Tarpons. It will be his first action in just over a year after having Tommy John Surgery last season. The veteran southpaw is expected to throw around 15 pitches, according to NJ.com, and he is unlikely to pitch past a three-batter limit in his first few outings.
Britton was excellent for the Yankees in 2019-20, pitching to a sub-2 ERA both years. But he was a disaster in 2021 before being shut down for surgery. If the Yankees can get him to regain form, he could transform a bullpen that has struggled of late.
The obvious potential impact: Britton has extensive experiencing closing. He was a two-time All-Star with the Orioles. The Yankees seem set to give Clay Holmes the closer job back once he returns from the injured list. If Holmes continues to get hit hard, Britton could be the guy (assuming he’s healthy). The Yankees clearly won’t let Aroldis Chapman anywhere near a big spot this fall. And closer by committee never works.
The Yankees cannot count on Britton for anything, of course. But he could be a major boost.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]