Michael King OK with uncertain role after strong Yankees outing

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By Susan Comstock

Michael King doesn’t have a set role at the moment.

He could be a starter.

He could be a long reliever.

He could even be a high-leverage, late-inning reliever.

At the moment, the Yankees are keeping their options open as they build up his pitch-count.

“It’s a little tricky with a couple off days coming up and Carlos [Rodon] probably joining the rotation again on the next home stand. We’ll see,” manager Aaron Boone said after King delivered 3 ²/₃ shutout innings of relief Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 2-0 loss to the Braves at Truist Park that closed out an ugly 2-7 road trip. “We’ll see. Try and continue to lengthen him out a little bit. But we also may need him on a given night in the role he’s thrived at all season long. It will continue to be fluid here over the next week and see where we continue to land.”

Michael King threw 3 ²/₃ shutout innings in relief during the Yankees' 2-0 loss to the Braves.
Michael King threw 3 ²/₃ shutout innings in relief during the Yankees’ 2-0 loss to the Braves.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

King entered in the fourth inning in relief of Randy Vasquez with runners on first and second and one out.

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He got out of the inning and tossed three more scoreless frames, keeping the Yankees in the game.

The right-hander is fine with his uncertain role.

Early in his career, it might have bothered him, but he has matured to the point that he will not let it be a distraction. More important is putting up zeros, as he has of late.

He has given up just two earned runs over his last 13 ²/₃ innings, spanning nine appearances, lowering his ERA to 2.91.

“We talked about it a little bit before the game,” King said. “It’s kind of been my role all year, swiss army knife, just doing whatever he wants me to do. It’s more just taking it day by day and asking him what my role would be that day, and trusting him that he will put me in the right spots.”

It is obviously different to be unsure of how he will be used, but King doesn’t mind the mystery.

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There was a point before the game Wednesday when there was the possibility he would start.

Instead, he was the first man out of the bullpen.

“It’s really just not complaining,” he said. “If you look back at outings and you make excuses, because you felt like you were in a different role than you were supposed to be in, then you shouldn’t be a big leaguer. I think it’s very valuable for a team.”

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