Zack Britton said he’s getting closer to rejoining the Yankees. How close, however, remains uncertain.
The left-handed reliever, out since March after undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip in his elbow, made the third outing of his rehabilitation assignment on Saturday with Double-A Somerset and threw a shutout inning.
Over three rehab innings, Britton has now allowed two hits, two earned runs and struck out four.
“I felt really good [after] this one. I definitely feel closer after this one than I did the previous [outing],” he said over Zoom before the Yankees’ 7-3 loss to the Red Sox.
“I think after the next one, I’ll have a better idea [of how much longer I’ll need]. Hopefully not many more.”
Saturday was the first time Britton has entered in the middle of the game; he started in his first two outings. His next outing is expected to be on Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Britton has yet to throw on just one day of rest, and hopes that will happen next week. Britton suggested a return to the Yankees could take place during the next road trip or start of the following homestand.
“It’s kind of a feel thing,” he said. “I feel really close.”
Corey Kluber won’t be back soon, but the injured right-hander is remaining active.
Despite the right shoulder strain that is expected to sideline him for the next two months, he played catch for the second straight day on Saturday, ran in the outfield and took part in pitchers’ fielding practice.
“He’s doing well, he feels good,” manager Aaron Boone said. “So [it] will be the next several days of that and then reevaluate where we are.”
To make room on the 40-man roster for call-up Chris Gittens, the Yankees moved Kluber to the 60-day injured list. He won’t be eligible to return until the end of July.
Initially, the Yankees said Kluber wouldn’t throw for a month, but those plans have changed. The 35-year-old Kluber left his May 25 start against the Blue Jays after three innings with a subscapularis strain in his right shoulder. He was 4-3 with a 3.04 ERA at that point, including the first no-hitter of his career on May 19 at the Rangers.
Right-hander Luis Severino will start a rehabilitation assignment with Single-A Tampa on Sunday. Severino has yet to pitch this season as he returns from Tommy John surgery.
Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez was pulled from the lineup after he jammed his left wrist on a slide to second base Friday night, manager Alex Cora said. Martinez was available off the bench.
— Additional reporting by Mark Cannizzaro