BALTIMORE — A desperately thin bullpen may get an important reinforcement soon, as Jonathan Loaisiga is scheduled to throw for the first time on Friday after being shut down with a right shoulder strain.
How long he’ll need to be able to return to the pen remains to be seen, but the right-hander emerged as a key part of the relief corps this season and his 68 innings out of the pen are second only to Chad Green.
Green has allowed homers in each of his last three appearances, the wear and tear of the season having taken a toll.
And while Aroldis Chapman had another encouraging outing in Wednesday’s win — with a perfect ninth inning — he’s been far from dominant.
Add to that the season-ending surgeries to Zack Britton and Darren O’Day, and the Yankees’ pen isn’t what they expected heading into the stretch run, so if Loaisiga is able to get back in time to be a factor, it would provide some much-needed depth.
“That’s the hope,’’ manager Aaron Boone said of whether Loaisiga will be able to get back in the final weeks of the season.
Luis Severino is expected to face batters Friday at Yankee Stadium for the first time since being shut down with right shoulder tightness.
DJ LeMahieu wasn’t in the lineup Thursday, with Boone saying he was “banged up.”
It’s been a rough season for LeMahieu and he hasn’t gotten any better this month. Through 14 games in September, LeMahieu is 15-for-52 with one extra-base hit, four RBIs, six walks, six strikeouts and an OPS of .696 in 60 plate appearances.
It’s the continuation of what’s been a disappointing year after he signed a six-year, $90 million deal to stay in The Bronx in the offseason.
Boone said he believed LeMahieu’s “at-bat quality” wasn’t much different than in previous seasons and that his decreased numbers are somewhat a product of hitting into bad luck.
“He’s put balls on the ground, but last year they found more holes,’’ Boone said before the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Orioles. “I feel like he hasn’t been far off.”
With LeMahieu out and Gleyber Torres at second base again, the Yankees went with Gio Urshela at third and Tyler Wade at shortstop on Thursday.
Giancarlo Stanton was in left field Thursday for a third consecutive day for the second time this season. That allowed Aaron Judge to DH, although it left Luke Voit on the bench, as Anthony Rizzo started at first base.
Right-hander Brooks Kriske was claimed by the Orioles after being designated for assignment by the Yankees. Kriske was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Kriske threw four wild pitches in an inning against the Red Sox on July 22 and allowed five runs in an inning in his final appearance with the Yankees on Sept. 6. … Sal Romano is “day-to-day” according to Boone after spraining a finger on Tuesday.