Yankees relief pitcher Michael King, center, is tended to by...

Yankees relief pitcher Michael King, center, is tended to by a trainer during the eighth inning of a game against the Orioles on Friday in Baltimore. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

BALTIMORE — Both Aaron Boone and Aaron Judge used the word “pray” late Friday night in discussing the sight of Michael King leaving the mound with one out in the eighth inning, waiting for whatever diagnosis was to come.

King’s reaction after throwing a 0-and-2 slider for a ball to Ramon Urias and the look on his face as he departed portended something serious.

It was.

The Yankees announced Saturday that King suffered a right elbow fracture and that it will cost the righthander  the rest of the season. King — the club’s best bullpen performer this season not named Clay Holmes — headed back to New York on Saturday and will be evaluated there, with a determination to be made whether surgery will be required.

“It’s certainly a blow,” Boone said. “To see his growth over the last couple of years with us has been really fun to witness, so our heart breaks for the individual and the kind of career he was starting to establish.”

Clarke Schmidt was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and righty Shane Greene, a Yankee in 2014 who has bounced around the majors since then, was put on the 26-man roster. Greene signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees on May 27 after being designated for assignment  by the Dodgers. Outfielder Tim Locastro was sent back to Scranton as a corresponding roster move for Greene.

“The King loss is a big loss,” general manager Brian Cashman said in the visitor’s dugout  before Saturday night’s game. “Obviously, he was a really important member of our pen.”

Though Cashman declined to specify his priorities going into the trade deadline, one organizational insider said the King injury recalibrated things to an extent. The Yankees, already looking for rotation depth and an upgrade in the outfield, very much feel the need to bolster a bullpen that suddenly seems to be taking on water.

“They’re priorities 1a, 1b and 1c now,” the insider said of the three areas of need.  

Holmes, even with his one or two hiccups of late, continues to be among the top relievers in the sport. The All-Star brought a 1.26 ERA into Saturday, recording 17 saves in 19 chances. King was terrific, posting a 2.29 ERA in 34 games and striking out 66 in 51 innings. But Aroldis Chapman has been inconsistent since returning from the injured list, Jonathan Loaisiga hasn’t recaptured the 2021 form that made him one of the top relievers in the game and Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge, solid to very good for the most part, have shown signs of wear and tear of late. Chad Green was lost for the year in late May with a right elbow strain that required Tommy John surgery and Miguel Castro is out indefinitely with a right shoulder strain. Zack Britton, who underwent Tommy John surgery late last season, is expected back before the end of the regular season, but the Yankees can’t count on that or how effective he will be,

“My job is to find ways to improve the club,” Cashman said. “I’d like to add anything that could help improve this roster. I’m not going to designate where, but I’m certainly up for the challenge and finding ways to improve on what I already have, in all aspects of it.”

Juan gone?

The Yankees are among multiple teams checking in on Nationals superstar outfielder Juan Soto, but for them, as is the case with everyone else, it will come down how many top prospects they’re willing to include in a deal.

Within the Yankees' organization, there already is considerable debate regarding whether the club should be open to parting with touted prospects  such as Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Jasson Dominguez, Austin Wells, Ken Waldichuk, Hayden Wesneski and Will Warren. At least three of those — and likely more — would have to be included for the Nationals to decide to trade Soto to the Yankees.

“Let’s say you give up your top four position prospects,” one rival executive said. “Ask yourself, what are the odds any one of the four turn out as good as he [Soto] is?”

Extra bases

Matt Carpenter hit his 14th homer and drove in his 35th run in the second inning Saturday night against the Orioles. All of those homers and RBIs have come in his 24 starts. He is 0-for-6 with four walks in 10 games off the bench.

Subway series rotation

Boone said Jordan Montgomery will start against the Mets on Tuesday at Citi Field, with a yet-to-be-determined starter going Wednesday. The manager said Domingo German is a possibility. 

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