A large fraction of the talk surrounding the New York Yankees over the previous few seasons has centered on their pitching staff, more specifically on their bullpen. Those same talks will continue this season, too, as the Yankees now possess three of the game’s top-tier relief pitchers.When left-hander Andrew Miller was forced to exit Wednesday’s exhibition game with a presumed injury, concern arose.
Miller left the ballgame in disgust after his right wrist was struck with a line-drive off the bat of Braves’ Willians Astudillos, throwing his cap and glove to the ground while making his way to the Yankee clubhouse. Miller returned to Tampa, home of the Yankees’ spring-training facility, for tests, including an x-ray and a CT scan.
“No swelling or nothing,” Miller’s bullpen mate, Dellin Betances, commented of Miller’s wrist after the game to ESPN’s Wallace Matthews. “Pray for the best.”
The X-ray came back negative, and the CT scan showed a chip fracture in his right wrist. Miller is scheduled to visit a hand specialist to determine what the next step is.
When the Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds over the offseason, they envisioned him serving as the closer and Betances and Miller managing set-up roles. However, Chapman will not be appearing in the first 30 games of this season because he will be carrying out the suspension Major League Baseball extended to him on behalf of domestic violence allegations that were made against him shortly after the conclusion of last season. For the duration of the suspension, the Yankees have penciled Miller in as the closer, a familiar role for the 30-year-old.
Miller appeared in 60 games with the Yanks last season, logging just under 62 innings and recording 36 saves in 38 opportunities. Miller struck out 100 batters and issued 20 free passes, crediting him with a ridiculous strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5:1. His performance in 2015 landed him the Mariano Rivera Award, an accolade bestowed upon the best relief pitcher in the American League each year.
With the regular season just days away, Miller’s injury could not have come at a more inconvenient time. If he is unable to work after the Yanks break camp, the team will turn to Betances. Betances whiffed 131 batters across 84 innings last season. Chapman is due to return to action on May 9.