Yankees' Jonathan Loaisiga to have season-ending UCL surgery

How Jonathan Loáisiga's injury impacts the Yankees (0:56)

Take a look at the impact Jonathan Loáisiga's injury will have on the Yankees' bullpen this season. (0:56)

NEW YORK -- The Yankees entered 2024 hopeful that their terrible injury luck in 2023 wouldn't bleed into the new year. The early returns aren't promising.

The latest setback is a significant blow to the bullpen: Reliever Jonathan Loaisiga announced Saturday that he will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right throwing elbow.

Loaisiga said he will not have Tommy John surgery, which would have required 16 months for recovery. Instead, he will have a procedure that will sideline him for 10 to 12 months. He said Dr. Keith Meister will handle the surgery in Texas. Meister is known for performing an internal brace UCL surgery that trims recovery time.

Loaisiga, 29, said he felt pain in his elbow when he threw a changeup late in his scoreless inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday. He underwent an MRI on his elbow Thursday, which revealed the damage. He was placed on the 60-day injured list Friday.

It's the second significant injury in a year for Loaisiga. He was limited to 17 appearances last season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. He also missed nearly two months in 2022 with shoulder inflammation.

"It's very hard. Frustrating," Loaisiga said in Spanish. "Two years in a row. ... Lose, last year, almost the entire season, and this year, practically, all of it. It frustrates me a lot, but the will to keep playing, battling is what keeps me good. It's very hard."

Loaisiga joined Gerrit Cole (elbow) and DJ LeMahieu (foot) as important contributors to have already landed on the Yankees' injured list this season.

Cole, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, isn't expected to return before June. LeMahieu, the club's projected leadoff hitter, could return by the end of the month. The third baseman, out with a nondisplaced fracture in his right foot, took batting practice on the field Friday for the first time since suffering the injury.

Loaisiga was slated to replace Michael King, who was traded over the offseason, as the Yankees' primary multi-inning bullpen option. He appeared in three of the Yankees' first seven games, logging four scoreless innings.

Loaisiga's most important outing in 2024, however, happened during spring training when his mother traveled from Nicaragua to Mexico City to watch him pitch as a Yankee for the first time against the Diablos Rojos.

"Obviously, it's tough news," Boone said. "First thought is just for him, you feel for him. And he's throwing the ball so well. He's just dealt with things over the last years that have, I think, added up to this point."

A free agent next offseason, there's a chance Loasigia's outing Wednesday was his last appearance in a Yankees uniform.

"My mind isn't on that right now," Loaisiga said. "My mind is on going to see the doctor, getting the surgery and the recovery. And then see what happens in the future."