TRENTON – While the Yankees big league club has struggled to get quality starting pitching over the last few turns through the rotation, a reinforcement may be close to returning to the show. The Thunder activated right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga from the disabled list on Friday night to start the series opening bout against the division leading New Hampshire Fisher Cats at ARM & HAMMER Park.
The 23-year old Loaisiga had been on the disabled list since July 5 with a shoulder injury after making four starts in the majors, where he had gone 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA with 21 punch outs in 18 innings. With a clean bill of health, the Thunder and Loaisiga hope that there is enough time to build his stamina back up so that he could potentially assist in a postseason chase over the coming weeks.
“We’re trying to build him back up so that he can go help New York compete for a playoff run here over the next month and a half,” said Manager Jay Bell.
The game plan heading into his Friday night outing was to have Loaisiga toss three innings of work in his first action since a four inning outing against the Braves on July 2, but the highly touted prospect lasted just 1 1/3 innings after laboring through 41 pitches.
“I feel so great, I do not feel anything,” said Loaisiga through translator Raul Dominguez. “I feel one hundred percent.”
Most encouraging for Loaisiga was his signature velocity, which sat between 96 and 97 MPH throughout his outing. The breaking pitches appeared to be rusty and the command for them was spotty most of the way through – common for a pitcher after such a lengthy layoff.
Loaisiga allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out two batters.
“I have been pitching in the rookie league and those guys usually chase those [breaking] pitches, but it is different here in Double-A. I hope the next time that I pitch, I will have better command of my slider.”
Bell is uncertain as to how long Loaisiga may actually remain with Trenton, but he is under the assumption that he will stick around with the team and could potentially play out the rest of the regular season schedule with the club.
“I have no idea what the plans are,” said Bell. “I am going to assume that he is going to stay here with us until he builds up just a little bit and then he will probably be on his way – he may end up being with us the rest of the way, but we will see.”
“Right now my goal is to get back there and stay there and not come back,” said Loaisiga. “I want more; I know that I pitched good, but that doesn’t make me comfortable. I want to go back there and do more in the major leagues.”