Zach Britton said he was ready.

The Yankees said, let’s wait, maybe. The left-hander, who returned from elbow reconstruction surgery last October, finished his rehab in the minor leagues. The veteran went through it all for one reason; to help lead this team to the World Series.

“I have an opportunity and I want to help the team win,” Britton said before Wednesday night’s game against the Pirates at Yankee Stadium. “We have a really good team. I mean, it doesn’t affect my future. I am healthy. I know that if I stay healthy, the future will be good for me. The reason I kind of push things is because I want to pitch for this team this year to help them win if for no other reason. So there’s no benefit to me personally, other than the fact that maybe I can make an impact on a World Series championship team. That’s really the only goal for me at this point in my career. I got the contract. I am 34 years old. Now my reasons are much different than when I was young. I want to win a ring, so I pushed it to come back and be an option for the team. So whether they activate me or not is up to them.”

The Yankees are undecided about lineup changes. Briton has made it clear that he is not going to waste time in the lower league. He’s a veteran who knows his body and his pitches, he just wastes bullets down there.

Aaron Boone seems to have said that the indecision has to do with how they will trim their roster going forward. They plan to step up right-hander Scott Effros on Wednesday.

“We’re in a bit of a bind right now,” Boone said. “How much defense is needed for Herman, who will be back in the rotation Saturday without being..probably having his full allotment of pitches. So we just have to see where we are in terms of coverage, day by day.”

Britton is in the final year of his contract with the Yankees. He played in just 22 games last season before being shut down to undergo Tommy John surgery. Britton has 154 career saves and a 1.89 ERA in 2020, his last full season.

While the Yankees may not have counted on Britton, he would be much-needed veteran help for a bullpen already weighed down by injuries to Chad Green and Michael King. The bullpen has struggled over the past month, giving up seven runs Tuesday night against a struggling Pirates team.

“I think it’s trying to lock in the best roles, positions, situations and matchups for them,” Boone said. “I think we’re going to have to do it based on the type of matchup where we put those guys in instead of those two strikers, which we think is the absolute best situation for them. Again, I think we have a lot of really good things going on and a lot of really good options and different guys coming back into the mix can help. But figuring out and nailing down those roles and where they are best equipped will be important in these final days.”


DJ LeMahieu took the field for the second day in a row. The infielder said his toe felt fine after Tuesday’s first hit, but the Yankees aren’t sure when he’ll return.

“It’s just a difficult situation,” Boone said. “You know, it’s like when you dive all in and let it rip? Do you know? Because this is ultimately the beginning of failure? So what’s the schedule? What is the best way to approach this job? I really don’t have that answer. And then, eventually, the rubber will meet the road and we’ll find out. But we must continue to try and progress to get “.

Boone said Le Mahmoud is staying fit and then he will have to finish the season dealing with the pain. Lemakhev will “probably” not be 100% this season.


Matt Carpenter, who came out with a broken foot, was cleared to start making weight and was able to track pitches on Tuesday. He will need another image to clear him to start a full baseball career. Andrew Benintendi’s wrist injury is “progressing” but the outfielder is now a weather risk. Boone acknowledged that the best-case scenario is a return to the playoffs.

Aaron Hicks left the clubhouse early before Wednesday night’s game with cold/flu-like symptoms.


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