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Zack Britton returns to Yankees after Tommy John surgery

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Zack Britton returns to Yankees after Tommy John surgery

NEW YORK — In Zack Britton’s view, a significant portion of his career story has already been written over a decade-plus in the big leagues. The left-hander has earned accolades, led the Majors in categories and put his swirling signature across a substantial contract.

There was only one reason Britton toiled through a grueling rehab from Tommy John surgery, his goals set upon pitching in a Major League game this season. Britton does not have a World Series ring, and if the Yankees go on to win one, he wants to feel that he contributed.

“The reason why I kind of pushed things was because I wanted to pitch this year for this team and help them win,” Britton said. “There’s no benefit for me, personally, other than the fact that maybe I can have an impact on a World Series championship team. It’s really the only goal for me at this stage of my career.”

The Yankees activated Britton, 34, from the 60-day injured list before Thursday’s series opener against the Red Sox, while placing left-hander Wandy Peralta on the 15-day IL with a back issue.

“We’ve got 14 games left, so I think it’s important to get [Britton] up here and in there against Major League competition,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Since surgery, it’s gone remarkably well. His rehab, and now pitching over the past month, has gone according to plan. He’s really encouraged about where he’s at.”

In a corresponding move to restore Britton’s place on the 40-man roster, infielder/outfielder Miguel Andújar was designated for assignment.

Andújar, 27, finished second to the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani in American League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2018, but he has struggled to find regular playing time in the Bronx since. He hit .229/.250/.281 with one homer and eight RBIs in 27 big league games this year.

New York also activated right-hander Scott Effross from the 15-day IL. Right-hander Greg Weissert was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Wednesday’s 14-2 win over the Pirates.

Britton underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 9, 2021, a procedure that also involved having a bone chip removed from his pitching elbow. He pitched to a 5.89 ERA in 22 appearances last year and is playing under a $14 million option this season, an add-on to the three-year, $39 million pact he signed before the 2019 season.

Britton said his sinker was moving well during his Minor League rehab assignment, although his velocity has been down a few ticks from his prime.

“I’m not really worried about it,” Britton said. “The reality is, I’m not even 12 1/2 months out of Tommy John. It’s early. Most guys get their stuff back in 18 months. It’s still been pretty good, considering. If the sinker’s moving, it doesn’t really matter how hard I throw. It’s always been that way for me.”

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