It appears that Thursday was the last straw for Zack Britton. Two blown saves in three chances was enough for the Yankees to make a change.
Moving forward, Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green will assume closer duties until Aroldis Chapman is ready to return from the injured list.
“For right now with Chappy down too, we’ll probably lean more on ‘Lo’ and ‘Greenie’ being in that kind of closer’s situation,” manager Aaron Boone said Saturday before the Yankees faced the White Sox in Chicago. “But every night for us, especially with how much we’ve had to lean on our bullpen, that just kind of remains a fluid situation.”
Britton said he talked to Boone after his blown save Thursday.
“I told him I don’t deserve to be out there in the ninth inning,” Britton said. “Other guys deserve it.”
The 33-year-old Britton, who coughed up the game-winning home run to Tim Anderson of the White Sox in the “Field of Dreams” game on Thursday, has struggled this season. Britton has missed significant time with a hamstring strain and elbow surgery, and has been ineffective when healthy. With Chapman out, Boone had used Britton as the closer, but he blew leads on Monday and Thursday.
Chapman’s return from left elbow inflammation, meanwhile, doesn’t appear imminent. He is still only playing catch, throwing at 75 feet on Saturday.
While Chapman is out, Boone said he would rely on one of his right-handers at the end of games, as he tries to find consistency out of Britton. The veteran left-hander has a 6.32 ERA across 15 ²/₃ innings with a sky-high 1.66 WHIP. He has blown three saves while registering just one. Loaisiga and Green have been the far superior relievers, notching ERA’s of 2.56 and 3.05, respectively.
“We’ll continue to try to get Britt into more situations where we feel he can be really successful,” Boone said. “I still think he’s going to play a huge role for us as we go down the stretch here. We have to get him back to that point all the way.”
— Additional reporting by Dan Martin in Chicago
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