Zack Britton’s long-shot bid to pitch for the Yankees in the postseason is over.
Britton was placed on the 15-day injured list on Saturday after leaving his third outing of the season on Friday with what the Yankees described as “left shoulder fatigue.”
Britton was trying to come back less than 13 months after having Tommy John surgery.
He walked off the mound on Friday night after throwing a very wild pitch over the lefthanded batters’ box while facing a righthanded hitter. In his three outings, Britton was wild (six walks in two-thirds of an inning), but that final pitch indicated he was having some sort of physical difficulty.
Britton can take some solace in that it was not his surgically repaired elbow that forced him out of the game but rather fatigue, which is not unusual during the rehab process from Tommy John surgery.
Britton pushed to try to get back in time for the playoffs, but he’ll have to look to 2023. He will be a free agent after the season.
Before the Yankees' 8-0 victory over the Orioles on Saturday, manager Aaron Boone said: “He’s doing pretty well, actually . . . I think it’s basically something that [we are] kind of running out of time here and having a little bit of fatigue, it’s like one of those things you don’t want to power through that and reach for more and then do some damage as you’re coming back. He’s in a good spot heading into the offseason, so just continuing with that.”
On Sept. 22, Britton said: “The reason why I kind of pushed things was because I wanted to pitch this year for this team and help them win. There’s no benefit for me, personally, other than the fact that maybe I can have an impact on a World Series championship team. It’s really the only goal for me at this stage of my career.”
Said Boone: “I’m just appreciative of how hard he’s worked to get to this point and to give himself a chance. Obviously, coming back quick by Tommy John standards, the rehab’s gone really well. I feel like a lot of things are there lined up. It’s just that final sharpness, and at this point of the season, just kind of up against it there. But he worked his tail off to put himself in this position and give himself an opportunity. Certainly admire that.”
Britton’s spot on the roster was taken by former Mets righthander Jacob Barnes, who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings Saturday.
The Yankees will play a man down for the rest of the regular season with Clay Holmes (shoulder strain) injured but not going on the 15-day IL. An IL stint would knock the righthander out of the Division Series, which starts on Oct. 11. Holmes had a cortisone shot on Friday.
Frankie Montas (shoulder inflammation) started throwing on Saturday. Boone said Montas could be an option after the Division Series if the Yankees make it that far.
DJ LeMahieu said he “felt like a baseball player” and declared himself “definitely” good to go after coming off the IL on Friday and going 0-for-3. LeMahieu, who has been dealing with a troublesome toe for months, said the plan is for him to play again on Sunday.
“I felt really good at the plate,” he said.
The Yankees announced their starters for the rest of the season: righthander Chi Chi Gonzalez will be called up to start Sunday’s game. Luis Severino will face the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, on Monday. Tuesday’s doubleheader starters will be Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole. Domingo German will start the regular-season finale on Wednesday.
Gonzalez, 30, signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees on Aug. 30. He pitched briefly for Minnesota and Milwaukee earlier this season.
In the battle for the American League batting title, Aaron Judge is hitting .313, just behind Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who went 2-for-5 on Saturday night and is at .315 . . . The Yankees (97-60) won for the 18th time in their last 24 games to move 37 games over .500, one fewer than their season high (61-23) . . . In three starts against the Orioles this season, Nestor Cortes allowed no runs, 10 hits and three walks with 31 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings. He had a 0.00 ERA, a 0.71 WHIP and a .156 opponents’ batting average.