The battle for the Yankees 25-man roster has come down to its final participants, with the Yankees announcing that 1B/OFs Tyler Austin, Billy McKinney and RHPs Giovanny Gallegos and Ben Heller to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That leaves Luis Cessa (who can’t get optioned mid-start, I guess), Domingo Germán and Jonathan Holder for the final spot on the Yankees roster.
Austin showed his power this spring. He tied with Miguel Andújar and McKinney for the team’s home run lead with four. Outside of the dingers, Austin slashed .235/.333/.618 in 16 games. His lifetime .361/.432/.722 line in 44 at-bats against left-handed pitchers will be his calling card this season, as he will likely get promoted to face teams like the lefty-heavy Red Sox.
McKinney came out strong this spring, but finished in a little bit of a lull. The former first-rounder slashed .161/.381/.548 with the aforementioned four home runs in 18 games. The corner outfielder continued the work at first base that he started in the Arizona Fall League. McKinney likely gets a chance in the majors if there’s an injury to one of the outfielders.
The situation for the two pitchers optioned is a bit of a different story. The Yankees will cycle through their pitchers with minor league options remaining to keep them fresh.
Gallegos appeared in eight games, pitching a total of 7⅓ innings. He allowed three runs in that span (3.68 ERA) and struck out 12 batters to six walks. He’s going to form a part of the RailRiders bullpen, and will cycle up to the bigs when a long reliever is needed.
Heller appeared in seven games, pitching 10⅔ innings. He gave up eight runs, but only five of them were earned. That gave him a less-than-stellar 4.22 ERA, which was inflated by allowing three earned runs in his last outing against the Tigers March 20. Heller, like Gallegos, will be going up and down all season.