Yankees reliever Zack Britton, who has not pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery in September, threw a bullpen session on Friday that has New York hopeful he could return to the club this season, according to Bryan Hoch.
Britton, 34 years old, has not made a regular season appearance since Aug. 19. He subsequently underwent the aforementioned elbow operation, which tends to require at least 12 (and sometimes in upwards of 18) months of rehabilitation. Should Britton make it back come August, as Hoch suggests, then he would be the rare pitcher to best that timetable.
Britton has, when healthy, served as a reliable high-leverage relief option throughout his career. He's appeared in parts of four seasons with the Yankees, amassing a 2.69 ERA (163 ERA+) and a 1.66 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His signature ability, coercing ground balls in bulk, has been on full display throughout his time with the Yankees. To wit, nearly 75 of the batted balls he's allowed since being dealt to New York in July 2018 have been hit into the earth.
The Yankees could certainly use a hearty and hale Britton. Their bullpen has been struck by a number of injuries in recent times, with closer Aroldis Chapman (Achilles tendinitis), Jonathan Loáisiga (shoulder inflammation), and Chad Green (Tommy John surgery) all landing on the shelf. (Green, for his part, underwent the knife earlier this week, meaning he's certain to miss the rest of this season and likely the first half of next year as he recovers.) As of late, the Yankees have had to turn to Clay Holmes to close out games, with Michael King and Miguel Castro serving in meaningful roles.
Britton is in the final season of the four-year contract he signed prior to the 2019 season that ensured him $53 million.