December 9, 2022

Yankees fireball reliever making progress, could help late in season

BOSTON— The Yankees increasingly hope that Stephen Ridings can help them again this season.

The 6-foot-8 fireball reliever has finally been healthy and kicked off bullpen sessions at Cressey Sports Performance in Jupiter, Florida, and could report to the team’s player development complex soon. in Tampa with an eye on minor league rehab games and potentially returning to the majors, pitching coach Matt Blake said.

“It’s really encouraging,” Blake said before the Yankees lost 3-2 to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night.

Ridings was sitting at around 92-95mph, but he continues to pick up speed as he returns from an unusual stint on the injured list during which he appeared to be dealing with hard-to-find injuries. The Yankees put him on the 60-day injured list with right shoulder impingement syndrome on April 6, but it looks like it wasn’t that simple.

“It was a bit indefinite,” Blake said. “The diagnosis revolved around him. They weren’t sure if he needed a chest outlet (surgery) and then it didn’t seem like surgery was needed, and we kind of ended up gaining ground and finally we’re here at a point where he throws pain-free, the bike comes in and he has responded well. We hope that will continue. »

Ridings, 26, thrilled the Yankees when he made five major league appearances with his fastball hitting 100 mph in August 2021. He pitched four scoreless appearances. Last year, between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Ridings had a 1.24 ERA in 22 appearances, striking out 13 over nine innings while walking 1.8.

He didn’t pitch in spring training this year.

The Yankees are also hoping that Zack Britton (Tommy John surgery) and Miguel Castro (sprained shoulder) could still come off the injured reserve to help their bullpen before the playoffs start.

Ridings would be especially valuable because he’s a reliever with minor league options remaining, giving the Yankees more roster flexibility.

“The first step is to get him in the minor leagues,” Blake said. “But as an optional guy who can come and help us, we really don’t have a lot of that there. If he’s healthy and he’s in minor league games, and he can help us. help in the aftermath, I think he would be in. But we’re not necessarily putting the cart before the horse, but the fact that he’s reporting that he’s feeling good…all really positive steps.

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Brendan Kuty can be reached at [email protected].