Michael King got the news he wanted this week. The Yankees reliever, who fractured his elbow throwing a pitch on July 23, will not need Tommy John surgery.
“The [ulnar collateral ligament] is intact,” King said with a big smile before Friday night’s series opener against the Orioles. “No partial tears.”
While King is out for the rest of this season as the bones heal with the reinforcements put into his elbow, it does mean he should be back to normal by spring training.
“And a pretty normal offseason,” King said.
The 27 year old said he is planning to begin his offseason throwing a little earlier. He will be cleared to throw again in November.
“I think I’d prefer that coming off an injury,” King said. “Throw a little earlier and build up slower.”
Losing King was huge to the Yankees bullpen this season. The right-hander had an All-Star-worthy first-half. He struck out 60 and allowed just 13 earned runs in 51 innings pitched, over 34 appearances. He had earned Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s trust for multi-inning appearances as well as high-leverage spots.
So, Tuesday night when the Yankees clinched the American League East division, a lot of his teammates remembered him, FaceTiming with him during the champagne celebration.
“I was sitting home watching the game, my girlfriend FaceTimed me and then I saw Scott Effross was trying to FaceTime me. So I asked my girlfriend If I could take it,” King said. “I thought it was cute that he remembered me. He’s a rookie and I know when I was a rookie and popping champagne for the first time, I wouldn’t have thought of anyone like that. He told me I was a big part of it and that was really nice. And a bunch of the guys texted and called to tell me that too.”
WANDY WINDING UP
Wandy Peralta, who is on the injured list with “spine tightness,” threw his first bullpen on Thursday and is a possibility for the final series of the regular season in Texas this weekend.
“He is scheduled to throw another bullpen on Sunday. And then we’ll decide if he’s going to pitch with us in Texas which is an option or if we just have to start getting some live situations,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “So that’s something that we’ll kind of tackle as the next few days unfold. "
In other bullpen news, Miguel Castro, who has not pitched since July 16 because of right shoulder inflammation, was back in the clubhouse before the game. He’s ready to be activated, but Boone was non-committal on his return.
“I mean, he’s available but we have made any moves as of now,” Boone said.
MONTAS MOVING FORWARD
Frankie Montas, who is on the IL with sight shoulder inflammation, will “probably,” begin his throwing program on Saturday. The right-hander, who the Yankees acquired at the trade deadline specifically for his success against potential playoff opponents the Astros and Rays, likely would not be able to be ready to start in the postseason.
Since coming to the Yankees, Montas has been less than impressive. The 29-year old right-hander the Yankees picked up at the trade deadline specifically because of his track record against the Astros and the Rays with the playoff rotation in mind. So far, he has a 6.41 ERA in eight starts with the Bombers.
The Yankees dealt minor league pitching prospects Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk along with J.P. Sears, who had already contributed to the big league club for Montas and reliever Lou Trivino (who coincidentally is the only one of the Yankees’ deadline acquisitions who has not been injured).
The Yankees will keep a group of high-level minor leaguers working out in Somerset to help them keep ready for the playoffs. With the first-round bye, they will have five days off between the end of the regular season and the Division Series.
“We will pull who we need for that day. So who’s scheduled to throw live, for example, I think we have like eight or so arms and a handful of position players. So we’ll pull what we need each day,” Boone said. “They’ll have a full site going over there. So they’ll be working out every day. And then, depending on who’s scheduled to throw that day or who we will pull from that.