DJ LeMahieu and Oswald Peraza were both left off the Yankees ALDS roster, but the biggest surprise came in the form of the exclusion of reliever Scott Effross due to a reported elbow issue.
New York’s bullpen had already faced plenty of questions heading into the series, but the loss of Effross is another blow. It had been determined that he would need Tommy John Surgery, YES Network’s Jack Curry first reported.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone had said that Effross had felt something when he pitched against the Baltimore Orioles, but was fine when he threw against Texas Rangers. However, when he threw live batting practice last Friday he didn’t recover and testing the next day revealed the issue.
“It’s a huge loss. Feel terrible for him. He’s kind of heartbroken over it,” Boone said ahead of Game 1. “It’s a blow. I mean, Scotty came over here and pitched really well. You know, I think he was going to have a really big role for us in our bullpen, but now we’ve just got to kind of support him and get him right. And hopefully everything goes well there. Somebody else, you know, has to pick up that slack.”
It’s a big loss for New York, who, according to Curry, had viewed Effross as an important piece going forward in the playoffs and beyond that. The Bombers had brought him in at the deadline in exchange for minor leaguer Hayden Wesneski to help bolster the bullpen for the stretch run of the season.
He had been in the middle of a standout rookie season when the Cubs dealt him to New York. The side-armer appeared in 13 games for New York since the trade and has a 2.13 ERA in 12.2 innings of work.
The reliever began dealing with a shoulder issue in August and was placed on the injured list on Aug. 22 with a shoulder strain. He was eventually reinstated from the 15-day IL in late September and earned his third save as a Yankee three days later.
Still, he didn’t think anything of the issue until the results came back over the weekend.
“I was a little taken aback. Obviously you know when you go in there, there’s the possibility of finding something you don’t want to see,” Effross said. “For me, I think it was kind of shocking. Obviously I think every pitcher thinks it’s shocking hearing that news. But, yeah, I was really not expecting that.”
New York doesn’t have traditionally defined roles for the bullpen heading into the ALDS against the Cleveland Guardians. Effross was expected to be used in some capacity in the closer role during the playoffs, which he has shown he can do.
LeMahieu himself has also been dealing with an issue that had kept him from the roster. He’s been dealing with a foot fracture that has extended into his toe, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Boone didn’t say outright what the issue was when he addressed reporters, but reiterated multiple times that he felt LeMahieu was too compromised to play in the ALDS.
“He is really compromised and I just felt like it wasn’t the responsible thing to do,” Boone said. “I appreciate all that he’s been through and all that he’s been to do to try to make it work. We’re leaving the door open as far as moving forward, hopefully, if we get deeper in the playoffs. But right now I just felt like he was compromised too much.”