With Michael King‘s season ended by an elbow fracture, the Yankees officially placed King on the 60-day injured list today. Outfielder Tim Locastro was also optioned to Triple-A after yesterday’s game, creating two roster spots that will be filled by right-handers Clarke Schmidt and Shane Greene. Schmidt has been called up from Triple-A, while Greene (previously on a minor league deal with the organization) has signed a Major League deal and had that contract selected.
Greene signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers over the offseason, and posted two scoreless innings at the big league level before Los Angeles designated him for assignment back in May. Quickly catching on with the Yankees, Greene is now back with his first pro organization—New York selected Greene in the 15th round of the 2009 draft, and he debuted with 78 2/3 innings with the Bronx Bombers in 2014.
Dealt to the Tigers in the 2014-15 offseason, Greene has appeared in each of the last eight MLB campaigns, with a pretty wide variance in performance. Overall, Greene has a 4.50 ERA over 469 2/3 career relief innings, but at his best, the righty has pitched at an All-Star level (with Detroit in 2019) and worked as a closer and in other high-leverage roles.
This inconsistency led to an extended stint in free agency in the 2020-21 offseason, as Greene didn’t land anywhere until signing with the Braves in May 2021, and he perhaps unsurprisingly struggled over 17 innings for Atlanta. Over 21 innings with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, Greene has a 3.86 ERA, 25.3% strikeout rate, and 9.2% walk rate.
While it will be very hard any pitcher to replicate King’s excellent performance this year, the Yankees are hoping to at least try and fill the gap with a combination of a veteran in Greene and a former top prospect in Schmidt, who is still in only his third Major League season. It also stands for reason that New York will put more of a focus on adding relief help prior to the August 2 trade deadline.