Yankees lefty Justin Wilson will open the 2021 season on the injured list, general manager Brian Cashman announced to reporters Monday. Wilson was slowed by some shoulder discomfort recently, though an MRI taken last week came back clean and the reliever recently threw from 90 feet. Cashman added that Wilson has “responded well” to the downtime he had when he was slowed down and threw a bullpen session today without issue. It seems this is likely just a matter of building him back up, but there is not sufficient time to do so before the season begins Thursday. With Wilson and Zack Britton both sidelined to open the season, the only lefty assured of a spot in the bullpen is closer Aroldis Chapman, though Lucas Luetge has turned heads this spring and could grab a spot, Erik Boland of Newsday tweets. Luetge hasn’t appeared in the bigs since 2015, but he signed a minors deal with the Yankees in the offseason and has since yielded just two earned runs on eight hits and two walks (with a whopping 18 strikeouts) in 10 1/3 innings.
More from the Bronx…
- Luke Voit’s surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee will be performed tonight, according to Cashman. There’s still no firm timetable for his return to the active roster, though at the time the injury was reported, it was said that the slugging first baseman would go three weeks without baseball activity following the procedure. That alone will take him to April 20 or so, and then Voit will of course need to ramp back up and get in some reps at the alternate site or in a Triple-A game, depending on what happens with the Triple-A season. Cashman added that Britton, who is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow, is doing well but is also still without a timeline.
- Tyler Wade, Michael King and Nick Nelson each made the roster, according to Cashman. Wade has barely hit since he debuted in 2016, having slashed .190/.274/.301 in 361 plate appearances, but he’s a speedster who can play several positions. Meanwhile, King and Nelson – both righties – will be part of the Yankees’ bullpen. King has struggled to a 7.22 ERA over 26 2/3 frames in the majors since 2019, but the 25-year-old owns an excellent 2.30 mark with almost a strikeout per inning and fewer than two walks per nine in 62 2/3 Triple-A frames. Nelson, also 25, didn’t post exceptional numbers with the Yankees last year, when he tossed 20 2/3 innings of 4.79 ERA ball with poor strikeout and walk rates (20.0 and 12.2 percent, respectively). However, Nelson dominated this spring, allowing one earned run on six hits and a walk (10 strikeouts) across 10 frames.