The Yankees announced that they have selected the contract of left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge, whom they signed to a minor league contract in the offseason. To make room for Luetge on their 40-man, the Yankees placed fellow southpaw reliever Zack Britton on the 60-day injured list. Britton will miss the first few months of the season as a result of elbow surgery.
Luetge makes for an interesting story as someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors in several years. A 21st-round pick of the Brewers in 2008, Luetge debuted with the Mariners in 2012 and stuck with the organization through 2015, though he combined for only 89 innings during that stretch. As a member of the M’s, Luetge logged a 4.35 ERA with unimpressive strikeout rates of 19 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively, while averaging a little over 90 mph on his fastball. He has since pitched in the minors with a handful of other teams, and he spent last year with the A’s organization.
To Luetge’s credit, he improbably shut down opposing hitters this spring with Yankees, as the 34-year-old tossed 10 1/3 innings of two-run, eight-hit ball with an eye-opening 18 strikeouts against two walks. Thanks to that tremendous performance and injuries to Britton and lefty Justin Wilson, whom the Yankees placed on the 10-day IL with shoulder inflammation, Luetge was able to earn a season-opening spot in the Yankees’ bullpen. He’ll be their relief corps’ top southpaw behind Aroldis Chapman until Wilson returns.
Along with the above moves, the Yankees placed first baseman Luke Voit (left knee) and third baseman/outfielder Miguel Andujar (right wrist) on the 10-day IL, retroactive to March 29. Neither decision came as a surprise – Voit just underwent surgery, while Andujar’s wrist has bothered him for a couple of weeks.