One of the Yankees’ strengths — their bullpen — took a significant hit Saturday. Before the Yankees faced the Red Sox at Fenway Park, they placed left-handed relievers Zack Britton and Wandy Peralta on the 10-day injured list.
For Britton, it’s another setback in what has so far been a lost year. He didn’t make his regular-season debut until June 12 after having surgery to remove bone chips from his left throwing elbow, and now a left hamstring strain has shelved him again. Peralta, meanwhile, had been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees until a recent shaky outing, but now his season is on hold, too, due to a lower back strain. He hasn’t pitched in over a week because of the ailment.
“Based on what we saw [Friday] night, I feel like the news is better than we thought,” Boone said, referring to Britton. “But we just thought, especially with him coming back, it’s not something we want to push through and risk something else popping up.
“I think we erred on the side of caution here. Obviously, we know what he means to our bullpen, the back end of that bullpen. Not the best thing, but hopefully something that’s a short stint for him.”
Britton suffered the injury after a pitch on Friday night. Boone wouldn’t call it a serious injury, but there was enough discomfort to put him on the IL. He had allowed runs in his previous two outings.
“I really felt like [Friday] night, watching him against those first couple of hitters, I was thinking to myself, ‘This is looking like ‘Britt’ to me,’ ” Boone said. “This is the best I felt he has looked. So it’s a little bit of a frustrating thing.”
Boone expressed hope both would be minor stints on the sideline, and the Yankees hope to get Justin Wilson and Darren O’Day back on their next homestand beginning on Monday. For the time being, however, the bullpen will have to make due.
The Yankees called up Albert Abreu and Brooks Kriske on Saturday to fill in for Britton and Peralta. Abreu has only appeared in four games for the Yankees, but the 25-year-old righty has thrown well, striking out nine over 6 ¹/₃ innings. Kriske has struggled, giving up five earned runs in four innings.
“The reality is it creates an opportunity for someone else to step up,” Boone said.