It was a move out of desperation. The Yankees needed a live arm to fill the vacant spot in the rotation left by Masahiro Tanaka, and so they called on an unknown Double-A pitcher.
Four starts later, Jonathan Loaisiga has proven to be worthy of the promotion.
With Tanaka on his way back from a pair of strained hamstrings and the Yankees in need of length after the bullpen threw seven innings in Monday’s 5-3, 11-inning loss to the Braves, Loaisiga was sent down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following the game and will be replaced on the roster Tuesday by A.J. Cole. But the 23-year-old Loaisiga seems like he will factor into their bright future and will at least get one more start in next week’s doubleheader against Baltimore, according to manager Aaron Boone.
“I learned a lot,” Loaisiga said through an interpreter. “Just want to get back as soon as possible.”
While a high pitch-count limited him to four innings against the Braves, he held one of the best lineups in baseball in check, allowing five hits and three runs. He threw 92 pitches, 62 for strikes, struck out three and didn’t walk a hitter. Through his four outings, against three formidable lineups — the Braves, Phillies and Mariners — Loaisiga didn’t allow more than three runs in any of his starts and has a 3.00 ERA.
“He’s been really good.” Boone said. “At least met our expectations for what we hoped to get from him. He had one hiccup in his second start, but bounced back his last start. [He] had a whale of a game in Philly. People got a peek into why we’re so excited about him.
“The stuff is evident, the way the ball comes out of his hand. … I don’t think he’s been affected by the expectations or jumping to the big leagues all of a sudden. He’s handled everything incredibly well.”
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