Tag: Ben Heller

Yankees Acquire A.J. Cole; DFA David Hale

The Cole train makes a stop at the 161st Street–Yankee Stadium station.

Needing bullpen reinforcements, the Yankees hooked up with the Washington Nationals on a simple trade after Monday’s 14-to-1 drubbing of the Minnesota Twins. The Bombers acquired right-hander A.J. Cole from the Nats in exchange for cash considerations.

The Yankees plan to activate Cole for Tuesday’s matchup with the Twins. To clear 25- and 40-man roster space, the team designated fellow righty David Hale for assignment. Hale pitched two scoreless innings of mop-up duty Monday.

Cole had been designated for assignment by the Nationals April 20, so the Yankees likely claimed him off waivers and then arranged the trade with Washington. The 26-year-old has made four appearances (two starts) in 2018, with a not-so-great 13.06 ERA (10.51 FIP) and a 1.298 OPS against him. He was ranked as the Nationals’ No. 10 prospect prior to the 2016 season, per MLB Pipeline.

With injuries to Luis Cessa, Giovanny Gallegos, Ben HellerTommy Kahnle and Adam Warren, the Yankees found themselves down to just Jonathan Loáisiga (who hasn’t pitched above High-A ball) on the 40-man roster. Cole likely will slide into a role in the front-end of the Yankee bullpen, and could be a spot-starter should the Yankees need one.

Cole is still a pre-arbitration player, so he will make $555,300 for this season when on the MLB roster. He will make less than that if he ever goes to the minor leagues. He is out of minor league options, so the Yankees would have to designate him for assignment and hope to outright him off the 40-man to demote him.

Hale finds himself in DFA-limbo now. The Yankees have 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the minors (if he clears waivers). By my research, he has never been outrighted before and also does not have the service time to decline an outright assignment. Therefore, my prediction is that Hale finds himself back with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre sooner rather than later.

Yankees Claim Trayce Thompson From Dodgers

Klay’s brother is in the Big Apple.

The Yankee outfield depth issue became a bit more comfortable for the team Tuesday, as they announced the acquisition of Trayce Thompson off of waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees transferred right-handed pitcher Ben Heller to the 60-day disabled list.

In 151 big league games, Thompson has a career line of .233/.310/.445 with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs. His biggest asset to the Yankees is the required athleticism to play center field. With tons of injuries to Yankees outfielders, Thompson provides an extra depth piece.

Manager Aaron Boone told reporters that Thompson will be assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but that the team would re-evaluate after Wednesday’s series finale against Tampa Bay.

Yankees Option Austin, Gallegos, Heller, McKinney

It’s down to Cessa, Germán and Holder.

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.

Jacoby Ellsbury Will Begin Season on Disabled List

The 34-year-old has missed 128 games since signing prior to the 2014 season.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Jacoby Ellsbury is injured. Reported March 2 as a “mild oblique strain,” the 34-year-old outfielder has not played since March 1 at the Philadelphia Phillies because of the nagging injury.

Ellsbury was 1-for-10 in four Spring Training games before suffering the injury. He missed 29 games in 2017 because of a concussion suffered May 24 at Yankee Stadium. He was hitting .281/.349/.422 at the time of the injury, but finished the season with a .264/.348/.402 line.

With the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and the ascendance of Aaron Hicks in the eyes of the Yankees, Ellsbury looked to be the team’s fifth outfielder in 2018.


The Yankees have not decided whether to fill Ellsbury’s roster spot with another bench player or a 13th pitcher. Aaron Boone mentioned Luis Cessa, Domingo Germán, Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder as potential candidates if the Yankees decided to go with a 13th pitcher.

The additional bench spot could go to someone like Tyler Austin, who has had a fantastic spring but has no clear path to playing time. Austin was looking to break camp as the team’s backup first baseman, but the signing of Neil Walker cut those chances significantly.

Boone mentioned that the Yankees would not necessarily take another outfielder if Ellsbury is on the disabled list, which would also harm Billy McKinney‘s chances of heading north with the Yankees.

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported Monday that Boone will have the team’s 25-man roster for the opening series against the Blue Jays in Toronto set for the team’s March 26 exhibition game against the Braves in Atlanta.

Phillies 3, Yankees 4: Miguel’s Magic

The first walk-off of the year!

With two strikes and two outs against him in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, Miguel Andújar came up huge against the Philadelphia Phillies. His walkoff solo home run propelled the Yankees to their fourth straight spring victory Monday night in Tampa.

Andújar is in the thick of the intense infield competition for the Yankees. He came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, and immediately roped a double that knocked in his main competition at third base, Brandon Drury. That hit tied the game. Then, after Gleyber Torres and Mark Payton were unable to connect against Ranger Suárez of the Phillies, Andújar lined a 2-2 pitch out to left for a game-winner.

Sonny Gray started the game in excellent shape. He worked around two singles to throw two innings of shutout ball, striking out two. Things began to unravel once Chance Adams came in to relieve Gray. Shoddy control allowed Carlos Santana to drive in a leadoff walk with a sacrifice fly in the third.

Ben Heller took over after a scoreless inning from Jonathan Holder. He eventually walked the bases loaded with one out, and then hit Phillies’ catcher Jorge Alfaro to force in a run.

The Yankees answered in the bottom of that frame. Drury walked, Billy McKinney reached on a fielding error by first baseman Matt McBride, then Tyler Wade knocked Drury in to cut the deficit to 2-to-1. Andújar’s double in the seventh tied the game.

Another Yankees run came in the eighth. Erik Kratz and Tyler Austin walked, then designated hitter Jorge Saez (pinch-hitting for Giancarlo Stanton) singled Kratz in to give the Yankees a 3-to-2 lead. Austin was thrown out trying to score by left fielder Jesmuel Valentin.

Cody Carroll was tasked with getting the last three outs, but he was unable to without squandering the lead. He got the first two outs, but Scott Kingery deposited a solo home run out to right field to tie the game again at 3.

Andújar took care of the Phillies from that point, going from two strikes and two outs to the first walk-off hero of this young season.


Tomorrow, the Yankees take a trip west to take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin Stadium tomorrow at 1:07 p.m. Chad Green will get the start coming off an incredible season out of the bullpen. His counterpart will be RHP Marco Estrada.

Game 4: Sonny in Tampa

The Yankees return home for another matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field Monday night with Sonny Gray on the mound. The Bombers took the Phillies down 8-to-3 Sunday at their complex in Clearwater.

Sonny Gray makes his Tampa debut tonight after being acquired by the Yankees at the 2017 Trade Deadline. As a Yankee, he posted a 4-7 record (he got terrible run support) and a 3.72 ERA (4.87 FIP) in 11 starts after the deadline. Gray is set to make $6.5 million this season after avoiding arbitration with the Yankees on a one-year deal.

Gray’s counterpart on the hill will be Phillies’ right-hander Ben Lively. The 25-year-old debuted last year, and made 15 starts to a 4-7 record and 4.26 ERA (4.97 FIP). A fourth round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, Lively struck out 5.3 per nine innings and walked 2.4.

This lineup looks similar to something that Aaron Boone would use in a regular season game. Brett Gardner and Gary Sánchez make their spring debuts tonight. We get to see some more of Billy McKinney in right field as well. Tyler Wade gets the start at the heavily coveted second base opening.

Tonight’s scheduled relievers are RHP Chance Adams, RHP Giovanny Gallegos, RHP Ben Heller and RHP Cody Carroll.


Phillies’ Lineup:
  1. Rhys Hoskins – LF
  2. Carlos Santana – 1B
  3. César Hernández – SS
  4. Aaron Altherr – CF
  5. Nick Williams – RF
  6. Jorge Alfaro – C
  7. Ryan Flaherty – 3B
  8. Pedro Florimón – 2B
  9. Dylan Cozens – DH

 

Tigers 1, Yankees 3: Undefeated

The Yankees start off Spring Training on the right foot.

The Yankees are off to a great start this spring, grabbing a 3-to-1 win over the Detroit Tigers in the season opener.

The first inning was the only one where Yankees pitching tripped. Leonys Martín led off with a single for the Tigers, then moved to second on a deep fly ball from Nicholas Castellanos. After a groundout, Martín came into score on a Chad Huffman single. That run off Luis Cessa was all the Tigers got. After Cessa, Ben Heller, David Hale, Brady LailCale Coshow and Giovanny Gallegos combined for seven shutout innings.

The Yankees’ offense struck in the sixth inning. Tyler Wade led off with a hustle double, then moved to third on a balk during Kyle Higashioka‘s at-bat. Higashioka walked, Danny Espinosa then was hit by a pitch. Jake Cave drove Wade in on an RBI groundout, and then Jorge Saez finished the job with a two-run single to score Higashioka and Espinosa.

Both sides played a clean game with the exception of a fielding error by Wade at shortstop.

Tomorrow brings another game (isn’t baseball season great?) for the Yankees. Domingo Germán gets the ball at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla., to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Per NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty, notable names making tomorrow’s trip are: Frazier, Florial, K. Holder, Andújar, Wade, Austin, Espinosa, Drury, German, Warren, Tate, J. Holder, Kratz.