SEATTLE — Albert Abreu isn’t the only member of the Yankees’ bullpen having a hard time.
He was the focal point after giving up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Carlos Santana in the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon at T-Mobile Park, but the team’s once fearsome pen has taken some hits and has yet to regain its footing in the wake of injuries to Michael King and Chad Green and the demotion of Ron Marinaccio.
“We’ve got to get a couple guys going,’’ manager Aaron Boone said. “But I absolutely feel [the pen] is in a good spot, especially when we’re set up.”
Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge have been solid, but Luetge is being saved for long relief. And Aroldis Chapman has been better, but hasn’t pitched in many high-leverage situations lately.
Clay Holmes hasn’t been as good since the All-Star break and Jonathan Loaisiga hasn’t gotten going this year.
The additions of Lou Trivino and Scott Effross should help, but there are more questions than there were earlier in the season.
And then there’s Abreu, who is out of minor league options and was designated for assignment twice after the Yankees traded him to Texas for Jose Trevino in the spring. He has allowed four runs in his last four outings.
“His command has not been as good the last few times,’’ Boone said. “We’ll keep getting him out there to be where he needs to be.”
After a 13-inning loss Tuesday night, Boone didn’t have the luxury of saving Abreu for a lower-leverage situation.
A day after the Yankees had five runners thrown out on the bases, Boone said he hoped those baserunning mishaps would serve as “a wake-up call” after previous carelessness on the bases the past few weeks.
Still, the manager added he wanted to focus on “the big picture,” noting the team has had more success on the basepaths this year than last.
“From a baserunning standpoint, it’s something we’ve been really good at,’’ Boone said before the loss Wednesday. “We don’t want to lose sight of that and part of that has been our aggressiveness.”
But that mindset cost them repeatedly in the 1-0, 13-inning loss Tuesday, when aggressiveness was replaced by recklessness, especially when they had the automatic runner thrown out in three straight extra innings.
“For the most part, we’ve been smart about [baserunning],” Boone said. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a few mistakes out there. We’ve been overaggressive and not had the best reads on fly balls in the outfield. This is a wake-up call to be really smart in certain situations.”
The Yankees’ baserunning has been better this season, but only marginally.
After finishing with the eight-most runners thrown out on the bases in 2021 (50), the Yankees have had the 12th-most thrown out this year (34).
They’ve stolen more bases already this season (71) than all of last year (63) and their percentage has remained steady, slipping from 78 percent to 76 percent.
On Tuesday, it even cost them at-bats in extra innings, as only two batters came to the plate in both the 11th and 12 innings, thanks to Miguel Andujar being doubled off second base on a liner to second by Aaron Hicks and then Jose Trevino being caught in a rundown on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s comebacker to start the 12th. Kiner-Falefa was also thrown out while trying to get to second on the play.
“I think it’s incredible,’’ Boone said of the back-to-back innings when only two players had plate appearances. “I might be the first and last [time it happens]. It’s not good. Hopefully, it never happens to us again.”
Anthony Rizzo returned to the lineup after missing five games with tightness in his lower back. He started at first base and went 0-for-4.
The Yankees and Rizzo said this injury isn’t as serious as when he dealt with a similar issue last month, but that one only cost him four games.
The first baseman had homered in four straight games before going hitless last Wednesday. His back tightened up during batting practice before the team’s next game on Friday and he was scratched from the lineup.
Aaron Judge hit his 45th homer of the season, a solo shot in the top of the seventh inning.
“He’s awesome,’’ Boone said.
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