Yankees’ Michael King suffers serious elbow injury

Yankees’ Michael King suffers serious elbow injury

BALTIMORE – The Yankees fear they may be without one of their top relievers for the rest of the regular season after Michael King left the mound with a right elbow injury in the eighth inning of a 7-6 victory over the Orioles on Friday night at Camden Yards.

The initial reading on King’s X-rays is a broken right elbow, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. The club has not made an official announcement regarding the severity of King’s injury, but manager Aaron Boone said the club planned to make several roster moves before Saturday’s game.

“He’s been one of the best pitchers in the league,” Boone said. “I hope and pray the best for King.”

King suffered the injury and threw an 0-2 slider to Ramón Urías. He cowered and immediately headed for third base, denying a return throw from catcher Jose Trevino. Head athletic trainer Tim Lentych briefly followed King onto the field, and Boone waved closer Clay Holmes to enter.

“You say a quick prayer and pray for a good outcome,” Aaron Judge said. “I saw the same thing happen to [Chad Green] last time we were here. To then see this happen, it’s never good, especially with how big of a bullpen piece he’s been for us. The work he puts in, day in, day out, to be one of our top deliverers – it’s hard to see.”

Losing King for an extended period of time will have a significant impact on the Yankees’ bullpen. The 27-year-old had a legitimate case to make the American League All-Star team, and combined with Holmes as the Bombers’ most effective relievers in the first inning.

King’s 66 strikeouts in 51 innings has a 2.29 ERA in 34 games, trailing only the Mets’ Edwin Díaz (75) among relievers this season.

“We’re definitely thinking about him,” Jameson Taillon said. – It was a bit of a gloomy moment here after the match. He is a hard worker. I know he wants to come back here and get back to the same spot he was in. It’s never easy to see a guy go off the field; you think about his girlfriend and family watching. It is not easy for anyone.”

King’s absence could mean more high-impact innings for Aroldis Chapman, who gave up a three-run homer to Anthony Santander in the seventh inning on Friday, an impact that necessitated King’s entry in what had been a 7-3 game. Chapman has pitched to a 5.75 ERA in 25 appearances this year.

“It’s obviously tough right now for him,” Boone said. “He’s going through a tough time and struggling, but from what we’ve seen in the last three weeks, it’s in there. We just have to pull it out.”

A King injury would also mean a move up the bullpen pecking order for right-hander Jonathan Loáisiga, who allowed one run in one inning on Friday and owns a 7.52 ERA in 22 games. As such, expect general manager Brian Cashman to increase his focus on relief as the Aug. 2 trade deadline approaches.

Currently, right-hander Ron Marinaccio appears to be on the short list of in-house candidates. The rookie pitched the side in a perfect inning for Double-A Somerset on Friday on a Minor League rehab assignment as he nears a return from right shoulder inflammation.

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