BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees‘ injury woes continued Saturday with third baseman Josh Donaldson and reliever Jonathan Loáisiga both landing on the injured list.
Donaldson, 37, was placed on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain, while Loáisiga is headed to the 15-day IL with right elbow inflammation. Both injury list placements are retroactive to April 6.
Donaldson’s move was anticipated since he was removed in the second inning of the Yankees’ win over Philadelphia on Wednesday. Manager Aaron Boone said Friday that the team would be conservative in handling the mild right leg injury of the former league MVP.
“Don’t feel like it’s too serious, but enough in there that it would probably knock him down for four or five days,” Boone said Friday. “Looks like it’s probably shorter than [the 10-day IL], but probably err on the side of caution in this month of April.”
The Yankees did not deem it necessary to bring up an infielder in his absence, with versatile infielder DJ LeMahieu to get the bulk of the reps at third base, Boone said. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Oswaldo Cabrera, both infielders-turned-outfielders, are also capable of playing third.
The Yankees decided instead to call up spring training invitee and former Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun. As regular-season rosters were defined, Boone mentioned that sending Calhoun to the minors had been a very difficult decision for the team.
Calhoun’s call-up further complicates Aaron Hicks‘ role with the club. The embattled outfielder, who is owed $30 million over the next three years, has gotten limited playing time. His role might get even murkier when outfielder Harrison Bader (oblique) returns from injury.
Loáisiga became the third member of the bullpen to hit the injured list, joining Lou Trivino (elbow sprain) and Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendinitis).
Kahnle’s injury in early March was expected to be a mild one, but a setback has led to the right-hander, who signed to a two-year, $11.5 million free agent deal, being put on the 60-day IL as part of Saturday’s injury report. Kahnle will no longer be eligible for an April return.
Loáisiga’s injury, as well as Kahnle’s setback, could open the door for reliever Greg Weissert to return to the majors. According to Boone, Weissert was another one of those tough decisions made as rosters were defined ahead of Opening Day, with the Yankees’ skipper stating that the right-hander would be “an important part” of the team this year.
The Yankees have been affected by injuries early, mostly on the pitching front as the team opened the season with three-fifths of the projected starting rotation on the IL: Carlos Rodon (forearm strain), Luis Severino (low-grade right lat strain) and Frankie Montas (shoulder surgery).
Boone said Severino is inching closer to starting his throwing progression, with the right-hander expected to throw a bullpen Sunday. Rodon will likely throw live batting practice Monday. Rodon and Severino are expected to rejoin the rotation at some point in April or May, although there is no definitive timeline.
The Yankees also announced that rookie Jhony Brito, who made his major league debut Sunday before being sent back to the minors, was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Brito is the scheduled starter for Saturday’s game against the Orioles.