Even as the Yankees welcome injured players back to the roster — Aaron Hicks was activated for his season debut today — new injuries continue to pile up. The team announced today that right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to a shoulder strain, and manager Aaron Boone announced to reporters that Loaisiga won’t throw a baseball for at least the next four weeks (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch). The 24-year-old is dealing with a strain of his right rotator cuff.
Loaisiga had been slated to start tonight’s contest, but that start will now fall to right-hander Luis Cessa. Righty Chance Adams was recalled from Triple-A in place of Loaisiga, so he’ll be on hand as an option for some length in the middle of the game as well, should the need arise. Loaisiga joins James Paxton, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery (still recovering from 2018 Tommy John surgery) as rotation options on the injured list.
While Loaisiga has yet to establish himself at the MLB level, he’s nevertheless a well-regarded prospect. Baseball America currently ranks him as the No. 94 farmhand in all of baseball, and he owns a career 2.88 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9 in his minor league career. Injuries, though, have been a persistent factor for Loaisiga, who has never thrown more than the 84 2/3 innings he tossed last year in any single professional season.
Following tonight’s spot start from Cessa, the Yankees’ rotation will include Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, Domingo German, CC Sabathia and a yet-to-be-determined fifth option. Presumably, Cessa and Adams will both be candidates for that spot, as will the recently optioned Nestor Cortes Jr. As for the team’s injured starters, Severino has yet to begin a throwing program following his latest shutdown, while Paxton has played catch but not embarked on a minor league rehab assignment. There’s hope that Paxton could return before month’s end but no indication that a return is imminent. Montgomery isn’t expected back until later midsummer.
Loaisiga’s injury is the latest in an ongoing series of physical ailments that have tested the Yankees’ depth at virtually every spot on the roster so far in 2019. Of course, the Yankees have largely passed any such test with flying colors; the team is eight games over .500 — just a half game out of the AL East lead — and carries a +36 run differential despite the interminable onslaught of health troubles they’ve faced.