June 19, 2024

The New York Yankees are facing more injury setbacks as another potential rotation pitcher is grappling with a health concern. Luke Weaver, whom the team inked to a one-year contract worth $2 million this offseason, is currently contending with a stiff neck, as reported by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Although Weaver’s performance during Spring Training had been inconsistent, he was anticipated to serve as the team’s sixth starter in case of any injuries. Typically, a stiff neck wouldn’t garner much attention, but given the recent news of Gerrit Cole undergoing an MRI on his elbow, Weaver’s condition takes on added significance.

Weaver was slated to be the primary backup option in case of any injuries, but with his current setback, there are concerns about his readiness with Opening Day just over two weeks away. While there’s no indication of a shutdown or any alarming developments, his condition will need to be closely watched as the season opener in Houston draws nearer.

After a challenging 2023 season, it might have been expected that Luke Weaver would be seeking a Non-Roster Invite and a Minor League deal. He struggled with a 6.40 ERA and 5.61 FIP over 123.2 innings split among the Reds, Mariners, and Yankees. However, his performance with the Yankees toward the end of the season caught attention. In three impressive starts, he showcased an effective cutter that generated soft contact and strikeouts. This performance led the Yankees to offer him an MLB deal in January, indicating their confidence in his potential.

He’s currently making adjustments, notably eliminating his leg kick, an unconventional move for a starting pitcher. However, this change seems to be benefiting him mechanically, with an uptick in his stuff velocity. The altered mechanics should lead to a flatter angle on his four-seamer and improved vertical break. Yet, the concern arises with Weaver’s stiff neck, prompting questions about the team’s pitching staff.

Weaver was slated to be the sixth starter, but if Gerrit Cole isn’t ready for Opening Day, they’ll have to turn to their seventh starter. Will Warren is the likely candidate, possessing a diverse pitch mix and emerging as a borderline top-100 prospect after his promotion to Triple-A with the Scranton Railriders. He posted a commendable 3.61 ERA at the highest Minor League level, making him a natural choice for a starting role. However, one obstacle remains: his 40-man roster status. Currently not on the roster, the Yankees may hesitate to start his service clock.

Among the options on their 40-man roster are Clayton Beeter and Luis Gil, who collectively pitched 7.2 scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, a team fielding their starters in today’s game. They have showcased impressive performances during Spring Training, demonstrating strikeout potential with refined pitches. However, their inconsistency in command raises doubts about their suitability for a starting role. Nonetheless, there is hope that both have made significant progress, particularly Luis Gil, who has displayed an enhanced changeup during camp.

The severity of Luke Weaver’s injury remains uncertain, but for now, he has been ruled out of their 1:05 PM game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Yankees’ depth starter scratched from tomorrow’s start with a stiff neck

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