After last night’s whacky 14-to-12 win over the Twins, the Yankees replenished the bullpen while unfortunately placing their starting catcher on the shelf for at least 10 days.
Gary Sánchez, who slashed just .102/.172/.186 in July, strained the groin on a ground ball hit to shortstop while hustling to first base. It’s worth noting that Sánchez had multiple IL stints with groin injuries last year, but those were on the right side.
The move brings back Kyle Higashioka, who had been with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre since April 22. He’s slashing .268/.343/.581 (126 wRC+) in 53 games for the RailRiders. He’s also hit 16 home runs, as everyone’s power seems to have jumped a bit with the use of MLB balls in Triple-A.
The bullpen gets replenished with the re-addition of Néstor Cortés Jr., who was scheduled to start for the RailRiders today. He’ll go back into a long-relief role, where he’s served well for New York this year. The crafty lefty has a 4.34 ERA in 37⅓ innings mixed between long-relief and following opener Chad Green.
The hard-luck loser in this situation is Jonathan Holder, who appeared to be one of the relievers who could have given the Yankees length Wednesday night. The righty spent 20 days with the RailRiders in an attempt to get his command back. He threw a perfect eighth inning Monday night on just 13 pitches. However, Cortés’ ability to give more length than Holder makes him the odd man out.
The other issue at play is that the Yankees could not recall Cortés without placing a player on the injured list. The move technically has Cortés replacing Sánchez and Higashioka replacing Holder on the roster. Green is the only other Yankee reliever with options remaining so Holder was the only expendable piece.