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Zack Britton Will Undergo Surgery On His Left Elbow To Remove A Bone Chip

by Owen Hetherington

March 10, 2021

It wouldn’t be a normal spring unless the Yankees would be without one of their most valuable assets at the start of the regular season.

LHP Zack Britton is expected to return to New York tomorrow and will undergo orthoscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow in the upcoming days. The surgery is expected to be performed by Dr. Christopher Ahmad at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. — New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 9, 2021

Yesterday morning, it was reported that the Yankees’ most reliable reliver, Zack Britton, was sent in for an MRI after he experienced some soreness on his left elbow after throwing a bullpen. The first thought that went through my head: Tommy John surgery.

This would have been a huge blow if the Yankees lost Britton for the entire 2021 season. After their Spring Training game against Detroit yesterday, the Yankees Tweeted out that he will undergo surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow. Thank God it wasn’t anything too detrimental.

This is still quite a blow for the Yankees’ bullpen heading into 2021. The timetable on injuries like this is often unknown. According to Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch, Britton is expected to leave for New York today at some point to undergo surgery by their team physician.

Yankees reliever Zack Britton will undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow. Expected recovery time is typically at least a month — usually more — and Britton will need to ramp back up before returning. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 9, 2021

Britton came into Spring Training behind his usual routine to begin with, having been infected with the Coronavirus that caused him to lose a substantial amount of weight. This set him behind to gear up for Spring Training and be ready for his 2021 regular season campaign.

The Yankees already lost Adam Ottavino this offseason, having been traded to the Boston Red Sox to clear up cap space to make room for other signings. Moving Ottavino helped the Yankees stay under the luxury tax, a goal they had in mind this offseason.

According to Jeff Passan, Britton could be out at least a month or more. I would expect Britton to be out until at least middle to late May/early June. The timetable is unknown, which Manager Aaron Boone said we would know more about in the next few days.

To replace Ottavino, the Yankees went out and signed veteran relivers Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson. During the 2020 season, Justin Wilson was a member of the New York Mets and had an ERA of 3.66 in 19.2 IP in 23 games. Darren O’Day was a member of the Atlanta Braves during the 2020 campaign and had a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 IP, appearing in 19 games.

Both of these relievers, along with Chad Green, will need to step in up at the beginning of 2021 to cover the majority of the later innings. An increase to their payroll may also become a factor, as Adam Warren, Tyler Lyons, and Nick Goody are all signed to minor league deals. Signing one of these veteran arms to the big club would come with get them closer to the $210M threshold, which the Yankees sit an estimated $3.5M shy of.

Hopefully Britton can be back at the beginning of June at the latest and the Yankees can cover the bullpen with what they already have. I don’t expect them to go out and get another arm with the arsenal of arms already on the roster.

The Yankees are only a few weeks into Spring Training and just 22 days shy of Opening Day. We all knew injuries like this would happen because it wouldn’t be a normal Yankees’ season without them. Let’s just hope that the Yanks can get through the early portion of the season on the bullpen side.


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