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Yankees' P Loaisiga needs elbow surgery; out 10 to 12 months

Jonathan Loáisiga New York Yankees Jonathan Loáisiga - The Canadian Press

NEW YORK (AP) — With a downcast look and a soft voice, New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Loáisiga said he needs season-ending elbow surgery and will be sidelined for 10 to 12 months.

A 29-year-old right-hander, Loáisiga said he felt a pop in his elbow while throwing a changeup to Jorge Barrosa, his final batter in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 6-5, 11-inning win at Arizona.

“Very frustrating. Really tough,” Loáisiga said through a translator Saturday in a nearly empty Yankees clubhouse. “Last year the injury took me out of the game for quite some time. And this year, after this, I’m going to end up losing the rest of the season. So tough moment to deal with but at the same time there’s a will inside and I want to be out there pitching, so you have to use that as motivation and rely on that to carry you through a moment like this.”

Also Saturday, third baseman DJ LeMahieu said he has resumed baseball activities as he recovers from a broken right foot caused by a foul ball on March 16.

Loáisiga has a forearm strain caused by a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will have surgery with Texas Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister. Loáisiga had Tommy John surgery with Yankees head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on May 1, 2016, and returned to the mound in June 2017 in the Gulf Coast League.

Loáisiga said he anticipates this operation will be ligament repair rather than replacement, known as Tommy John surgery. The rehab time for repair usually is shorter.

“It’s looking like the repair, but once you get in there you never know for certain,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I think they’ll see once they make the final call on what they’re going to do and then once you get in there, what you find, as well.”

Loáisiga is 19-11 with a 3.44 ERA in 152 relief appearances and 11 starts.

He didn't pitch for the Yankees between May 9 and Aug. 15 in 2019 because of a strained right shoulder, between Sept. 1 and 16 in 2020 because of an unspecified medical condition, between July 9 and 24 in 2021 because of COVID-19, between Sept. 3 and 29 that year because of a strained right shoulder, between May 22 and July 14 in 2022 because of right shoulder inflammation, and between April 5 and Aug. 8 last year with right elbow inflammation. That injury also ended his season on Sept. 9.

“It's kind of been pretty much something every year that’s either tripped him up for sometimes short periods of time, obviously sometimes longer," Boone said. "Hopefully whatever road he goes down here, this is something that serves him well moving forward in his career because he is a really good pitcher.”

Loáisiga is eligible for free agency after the World Series. He didn't want to think about the possibility he had thrown his final pitch for the Yankees.

“No, no, no,” he said. “My mind is not there right now. My mind is on what I need to do next. go see the doctor, go through this and find my way getting back here.”

The 35-year-old LeMahieu has been out since fouling a ball off the foot during a spring training game. He opened the season on the 10-day injured list.

LeMahieu took batting practice Friday for the first time since getting hurt but said he isn't ready for game at-bats. After taking batting practice, fielding grounders and running the bases in the next week, he may be ready for a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment.

“I don't anticipate it's super long,” he said.