The Yankees announced Thursday that they’ve placed right-hander Jameson Taillon on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a “right ankle tendon injury.” Right-hander Sal Romano was selected from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his place, and outfielder Jonathan Davis was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Romano.
Taillon suffered a partial tear in the tendon in his ankle, manager Aaron Boone told reporters (including Erik Boland of Newsday). While that certainly sounds ominous, Boone suggested there’s optimism Taillon could miss at little as one start before returning. It seems rookie Luis Gil could assume Taillon’s rotation spot for the time being, with Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Corey Kluber and Nestor Cortes Jr. rounding out the starting staff.
Acquired from the Pirates over the winter, Taillon got out to a slow start to his Yankees’ tenure. He was tagged for a 5.43 ERA through the end of June, with significant home run troubles offsetting quality strikeout and walk numbers. The 29-year-old was one of the league’s best pitchers in July, though, and has generally been quite productive over the past couple months. Since July 1, Taillon owns a 3.39 ERA as he’s done a better job keeping the ball in the yard. On the season, Taillon has a 4.41 mark across 138 2/3 innings with an average 23.4% strikeout rate and a solid 7.2% walk percentage.
Romano has bounced on and off a few teams’ rosters over the course of the season. He began the year with the Reds, struggling badly in April and finding himself designated for assignment. After clearing waivers, he elected free agency and signed a minor league deal with the Yankees. He was selected to the big league roster but quickly DFA’d again, this time landing with the Brewers via waiver claim. Milwaukee became the third team to bump the right-hander from the 40-man roster not long thereafter, and Romano again elected free agency and signed with the Yankees.
Over his prior three big league stints, Romano compiled a 5.63 ERA in 24 innings of relief. His 13.9% strikeout rate is well below-average for a reliever, as is his 5% swinging strike rate. That said, Romano has been far better with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he’s worked to a 3.56 figure over 30 1/3 innings. His 19.1% minor league strikeout rate is still a few points worse than the league average, but it’s quite a bit better than his big league mark. More impressively, Romano has walked a minuscule 3.8% of batters faced with the RailRiders, so Boone should at least be able to count on him throwing strikes consistently in the middle innings.
The Yankees claimed Davis off waivers from the Blue Jays a little more than a month ago. At the time, New York’s roster was reeling from COVID-19 spread. With those players having recovered from the virus, Davis found himself optioned to Triple-A and eventually squeezed off the 40-man entirely. The Yankees will now place Davis on outright or release waivers in the next few days.
Over parts of four seasons with the Jays and Yankees, Davis owns a .171/.272/.248 mark in 259 plate appearances. The right-handed hitter has a more productive .250/.355/.421 line in three seasons at Triple-A, though, and is capable of playing all three outfield positions. He is in his final minor league option year, so any team that claims Davis could keep him in the high minors as a depth option for the rest of the regular season. Because he’s being designated for assignment after August 31, Davis wouldn’t be eligible for a new team’s postseason roster if he’s claimed off waivers.