Loaisiga to start Friday for Yankees in big league debut
NEW YORK (AP) — Right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga will be brought up from Double-A by the New York Yankees to make his major league debut against Tampa Bay on Friday night.
The 23-year-old Loaisiga returned last year following Tommy John surgery. He is 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in six starts at Double-A Trenton after starting 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA at Class A Tampa this season, striking out 58 in 45 innings.
"He's really talented. We think he has a very bright future. His stuff is really good. He's a guy that pounds the strike zone," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday. "I don't feel like he'll be overwhelmed."
Loaisiga fills the rotation slot that opened when Masahiro Tanaka injured both hamstrings while sprinting home to score on a sacrifice fly last Friday. Domingo German, who entered the rotation after No. 5 starter Jordan Montgomery tore an elbow ligament, will start Thursday. Yankees ace Luis Severino pitches Saturday.
Signed by San Francisco in September 2012, the Nicaragua-born Loaisiga was released by the Giants in September 2015. He signed with the Yankees, made his only start of 2016 on May 13 for Class A Columbia, and then had Tommy John surgery. He returned last June 26 for the Yankees in the Gulf Coast League.
Loaisiga is on the 40-man roster, unlike Justus Sheffield. A 22-year-old left-hander, Sheffield began the season 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts at Trenton and is 1-2 with a 2.96 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"We feel like Sheff's still very much in the mix, very much continuing to develop and close to being an option or is even an option for us," Boone said. "Maybe the 40-man plays a small role in that."
It's possible Loaisiga could make just a few starts until Tanaka is ready to return.
New York opened a two-game set against Washington on Tuesday night without catcher Gary Sanchez, who was out of the starting lineup and replaced behind the plate by Austin Romine.
Boone said Sanchez likely won't be a designated hitter Wednesday, when Sonny Gray starts and pitches to Romine — Gray has had much better results with the backup catching him.
"He's a little banged up," Boone said about Sanchez. "Just the wear and tear of catching, whether it's shoulder, knee, calf."
The Yankees also said right-hander Luis Cessa will get a few more rehab starts. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings for Class A Tampa on Monday night, throwing 19 of 46 pitches for strikes.
"We want to build him up as a starter," Boone said.