Luis Gil Earns Rotation Spot, But Can He Keep It?

After having Tommy John surgery in 2022, Luis Gil finally made his return to Spring Training fighting for a spot in the Yankees' rotation. Now that he has earned his spot, how much leash will he have to prove he belongs in the big league?

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees - Game Two
Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees - Game Two / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

The 2024 season is off to an interesting start. The Yankees entered Spring Training with a lot of questions. Were they happy with the additions they made? Should they trade or sign a starting pitcher for the rotation?

With opening day approaching, the Yankees missed out on Corbin Burnes, Dylan Cease, and Blake Snell. While Snell signed with the Giants, the Yankees did not want to part ways with their number two prospect Spencer Jones. That left Aaron Boone and company to hope their rotation comprised of Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Carlos Rodon, and Marcus Stroman, could lead them to a championship. 

Of course, an injury bug would strike the Yankees again. Gerrit Cole would go down with a right elbow injury, placing the Cy Young winner on the injured list for at least a month, maybe two. Losing the star pitcher, put a panic on what is next for the Bronx Bombers’ rotation.

Instead of going outside the team to find a remedy for pitching, they had a competition for the fifth spot between Luke Weaver, Clayton Beeter, Will Warren, Cody Poteet, and Luis Gil. Only one could earn the spot until Cole comes back. So who earned it?

Recently, manager Aaron Boone announced that Luis Gil won the fifth spot in the rotation. What makes it special for Dominican Republic native, is that he spent the past two years on the shelf. Now, he has the opportunity to continue what he started in 2021. 

In 2022, Gil made an appearance against the Chicago White Sox, where he collected an ERA of 9. After the game, he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he felt discomfort in his arm. That discomfort led to Tommy John surgery. Gil missed the rest of 2022 and the whole season of 2023. 

Typically there are alot of questions regarding if a pitcher could pitch the same after returning from a surgery like Tommy John. That is the same question for Luis Gil as he continues his quest to wear pinstripes again. While Gil had impressed in his appearances in 2021, he never had the opportunity to redeem himself from his bad start from 2022 until now. 

Spring 2024 left the question, can Gil prove he still has enough to make it to the Bronx? In five appearances (three starts), Gil pitched 15.2 innings and struck out 23 batters. Not only were the statistics for spring great but the command and control of his pitches were there, especially coming back from Tommy John. 

Now that the question of the fifth pitcher has been answered. The new question is how long is the leash of Luis Gil. The last time he pitched in 2022, he was optioned to Triple-A right after one game. Will he have multiple games to prove he belongs in the rotation? What happens if Luis Gil gets to a hot start and Gerrit Cole comes back? Will Gil stay in the rotation or will he move to the bullpen?

Only time will tell.

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