After using both A.J. Cole and Giovanny Gallegos Tuesday night in Texas (and optioning the latter), the Yankees selected the contract of journeyman left-hander Ryan Bollinger to be activated for Wednesday’s series finale in Arlington.
Now, I mean it when I call Bollinger a “journeyman”. He was a 47th round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 as a first baseman. He slashed .174/.240/.217 in 25 plate appearances as an 18-year-old in the Gulf Coast League. His time in the Phillies organization did not last long, as he was released by the team July 15, 2010.
The next stop for Bollinger was the Windy City ThunderBolts of the independent Frontier League, where he threw five innings without allowing a run and also drew a walk in the only plate appearance he had for the team. Bollinger turned this 7-game stint with the ThunderBolts into a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox in October 2010.
Bollinger spent three years in the White Sox organization, making it as high as Low-A in the South Atlantic League at age-22. However, in the spring of 2014, Bollinger once again found himself cut by the White Sox organization. He bounced around the independent circuit in 2014, pitching for the Trois-Rivieres Aigles of the Canadian-American Association and the St. Paul Saints and Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association.
He then returned to Trois-Rivieres for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, where he appeared in at least 20 games while jumping between starting and relief. During the regular season in 2017, he pitched in the German Baseball-Bundesliga for the Munich-Haar Disciples. He went 10-1 with a filthy 0.76 ERA in 14 appearances. Then, he made another jump to a new league in 2017, taking his talents down under to the Australian Baseball League. In nine games (two complete games!) for the Brisbane Bandits, Bollinger went 5-1 with a 3.48 ERA and a 12.4 strikeouts-per-nine rate.
In the aftermath of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, the Yankees quietly signed Bollinger to a minor league contract on December 16, 2017. They assigned him to Double-A Trenton on Valentine’s Day 2018, a level he never reached in his previous stints in affiliated ball. He made three starts in Trenton, throwing 20 innings and allowing just 11 hits and three runs. That earned him two starts in Triple-A Scranton, where he allowed four earned runs on seven hits.
Ryan Bollinger had been scheduled to start today in Trenton, but instead will head to Arlington where he could make his long-awaited MLB debut after an incredible journey. Hopefully, the Yankees will have a solid lead and Bollinger can show his stuff. I’m going to guess Bollinger will be assigned No. 61, which was vacated by Gallegos’ optioning.
This will be Bollinger’s first major league contract, so he will have the standard three option years. Therefore, he’s likely joining the folks on the Scranton Shuttle.
Giovanny Gallegos scattered two hits in two innings of scoreless mop-up relief in Tuesday’s 6-to-4 loss to the Rangers. He’ll head back to Triple-A Scranton where he’ll await his next turn on the shuttle.