Tag: Billy McKinney

Yankees 10, Rangers 5: Torres Leads Bombers Past Bartolo

21-year-old vs. 44-year-old – Advantage: Gleyber

Gleyber Torres showed off his power stroke Monday in Texas, smacking two home runs for the first time in his career en route to a 10-to-5 Yankees victory over the Rangers.

The 21-year-old second baseman, who was just three months old when Bartolo Colón made his MLB debut, drove in three as he hit homer No. 5 off the righty in the second and No. 6 in the sixth. That second home run chased Colón from the game. In between the two homers, Colón plunked Torres. Whether intentional or not, Torres got the best possible revenge.

The Yankees scored six on Colón in his 6⅓ innings, with the scoring starting in the second inning. Gary Sánchez led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a Tyler Austin ground out and then came around to score on a Neil Walker double. Torres followed with a 418-foot bomb to left that scored Walker.

In the bottom of the second, the master of the three true outcomes, Joey Gallo, got the best of Tanaka as he smacked his 14th home run of the year to right-center field.

Walker got in on the home run party in the fourth inning, smacking a solo shot into the right field seats for his first home run as a member of the Yankees. In 44 plate appearances in May, Walker is slashing .343/.477/.543 while appearing at first and third base. Neither is his natural position, yet he is still contributing on both sides of the ball. Worth the $4 million investment without question.

Tanaka could not avoid the big hit in the fourth inning in a jam he created for himself. He walked Jurickson Profar and Gallo back-to-back, and then allowed a three-run game-tying home run to Rougned Odor. Odor had not homered since September 20 last season.

Aaron Judge snapped himself out of an 0-for-15 funk with a towering solo home run in the fifth inning, which was his 12th of the season and also gave the Yankees a 5-to-4 lead. Torres’ second home run ushered Colón out of the game and recently recalled righty Matt Bush in from the bullpen. Brett Gardner walked, Judge doubled him over to third and Giancarlo Stanton scored Gardner on a sacrifice fly to right. Didi Gregorius, who could not buy a hit, then roped a double to left to score Judge.

After Tanaka got out of the fifth, Aaron Boone turned the game over to the bullpen. Chad Green, David Robertson and Jonathan Holder handled the last four innings, and the only blemish was a Ronald Guzmán homer. Green allowed the dinger in his second inning of work. Otherwise, not much happened offensively for the Rangers after Odor’s fourth inning home run.

In the top of the ninth, Sánchez roped a double to left, and then Aaron Hicks followed with his fifth home run of the year to ice the game for New York. Since May 15, when Clint Frazier was recalled in Washington, Hicks has caught fire: 8-for-19 (.421/.500/.842, 257 wRC+).

Tanaka’s outing left a lot to be desired. He has a 5.91 ERA in his four May starts, and has allowed 20 hits in 21⅓ innings in that same timeframe. Of course, the Yankees have scored an average of just over seven runs behind him in those outings. He had no command of his splitter, which is a key to his success.

Too many left out over the plate, and too many that are too low to even entice hitters. Fixing his splitter will allow him to miss more bats and induce more ground balls.


Rehab Update:

  • Greg Bird: 1-for-4, HR, 1 BB, 2 K – second home run of his rehab assignment.
  • Billy McKinney: 0-for-4 – he seems close, and will likely be activated and optioned to Triple-A sooner than later
  • Tommy Kahnle: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K – got the loss in his first professional start and first rehab appearance for Low-A Charleston. Likely makes one more appearance before returning Friday in the Bronx.

What’s Next:

Domingo Germán, who has not pitched in 10 days, gets the start against Cole Hamels. Hamels had some interesting things to say to the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan the other day:

“It’s kind of the nature of what happens,’’ [Hamels] said. “You get traded once and you understand the possibilities are there. … The Yankees have a tremendous team. I feel like I have a lot left and I’ve been able to add more pitches and I haven’t had a serious injury.’’

The Yankees are reportedly on Hamels’ no-trade clause list, though it seems likely he would waive that agreement if given the opportunity.

Game 44: Big Sexy in Texas

Somehow, Bartolo Colón is still pitching.

Fresh off a blowout win to secure their eighth straight series win, the New York Yankees tab Masahiro Tanaka as their starter against Bartolo Colón and the Rangers in Arlington.

Masahiro Tanaka has been consistent in his last five starts, and the Yankees have won four of them (one is in limbo as Tanaka started the suspended game in Washington on May 15). In that timeframe, he has a 3.72 ERA and a strong 24-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Most importantly, 84% of at-bats against the righty in this sample have ended in ground balls. That’s the best way to keep your team in the game. Since his debut in 2014, Tanaka has not had success against the Rangers. He’s 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts against them.

Facing the Yankees is the ageless right-hander Bartolo Colón. At the age of 44 years, 11 months and 27 days, Colón is having a resurgence on the mound in 2018. Through nine games (seven starts), the veteran has just a 2-1 record but a stellar 2.82 ERA. In his last time out against the Seattle Mariners on May 16, he fired 7⅔ shutout innings while allowing just four hits on 96 pitches. In 21 career appearances (20 starts) against the Yankees, Colón has a 6.11 ERA in 113⅓ innings. Gleyber Torres, the Yankees’ second baseman, was just three months old when Colón made his MLB debut.

Miguel Andújar sits against the veteran Colón, while Neil Walker returns to the lineup at third base for the first time this season. Tyler Austin gets another start over at first, while Didi Gregorius returns to the lineup in the cleanup spot.


Greg Bird and Billy McKinney have had their rehab assignments transferred to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and have traveled to Pawtucket to play the Red Sox’s affiliate.

Tommy Kahnle, who has been shelved since April 16 with right shoulder tendonitis, began a rehab assignment tonight with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs tonight. He could rejoin the team as soon as Friday, per Aaron Boone.


Rangers’ Lineup:

  1. Delino DeShields Jr. – CF
  2. Shin-Soo Choo – DH
  3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  4. Nomar Mazara – RF
  5. Jurickson Profar – SS
  6. Joey Gallo – LF
  7. Rougned Odor – 2B
  8. Robinson Chirinos – C
  9. Ronald Guzmán – 1B

 

Yankees 8, Royals 3: Bombers Clobber Five Homers to Even Series

Four balls over the wall, and one that missed by a few inches.

The Bronx Bombers lived up to that nickname Saturday night in Kansas City, as the rain held off to allow the Yankees to even their series with the Royals behind an 8-to-3 win.

Gary Sánchez finally broke out in a huge way tonight, going 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs and a single. The Kraken drove in three runs and scored two of his own.

In the third inning, Aaron Hicks showed off his speed as he smacked his second inside-the-park home run of the season on a fly ball to right field. He is the first Yankee to have multiple inside-the-park home runs in a season since Mickey Mantle in 1958. Gleyber Torres smacked a go-ahead 3-run homer in the fourth to put the Yankees ahead for good. In the top of the ninth, Giancarlo Stanton smacked one into the left-center field fountains, and then Sánchez snuck his second homer of the night over the left field wall.

The Royals rallied for two runs in the third when Alcides Escobar led of the inning with a single and then scored on a Ryan Goins double. Jon Jay then sacrificed Goins to third, and Jorge Soler followed with an RBI single.

They also scored in the fifth, when Goins walked, Jay singled and then Mike Moustakas hit a broken-bat single to right that scored Goins. The Royals almost plated another run, but a strong relay from Stanton to Ronald Torreyes to Gary Sánchez nailed Moustakas at the plate trying to score from first on a Salvador Pérez double.

Hicks, Torreyes and Tyler Austin each managed multi-hit games tonight. Aaron Judge was the only Yankee without a hit.


Rehab Update:

  • Greg Bird: 1-for-3, BB – Bird is headed to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to continue his rehab stint.
  • Billy McKinney: 1-for-3, BB – McKinney played center field for the Thunder tonight. Played five games there for Trenton in 2017, once in 2016. Unclear if he’s headed to SWB with Bird.

What’s Next:

Sonny Gray looks to rebound from an awful start against his old team, the Oakland Athletics. Gray gave up five runs in five innings May 11, and looks to revert to the pitcher that allowed just two runs over six innings against the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians.

His counterpart will be southpaw Eric Skoglund. In seven starts, the 25-year-old has pitched to a 1-3 record and 5.58 ERA. His last start saw him get a tough luck loss against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing just two runs while scattering seven hits in 7⅔ innings.

Yankees 2, Royals 5: Yanks Out-Hit KC, But Drop Series Opener

The Yankees racked up eight hits compared to the Royals’ six, but ultimately the Bombers fell 5-to-2 behind shoddy defense in Kansas City.

The Royals jumped out to an early 1-to-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Whit Merrifield doubled, stole third and then came around to score on a fielders choice pop-up to Gleyber Torres.

Torres’ defense cost the Yankees two runs in the third too, as a fielding error allowed Merrifield to score. Starter CC Sabathia then walked Hunter Dozier with the bases loaded to force in another run. Salvador Pérez hit a solo home run off Sabathia in the fifth.

The Yankees got two runs back in the sixth, as Giancarlo Stanton led off the inning with a single, followed by a single from Aaron Hicks. Neil Walker, normally a zero against lefty pitchers, rapped a clutch RBI single to center to score Stanton. Miguel Andújar then lifted a deep sacrifice fly to score Hicks. That was all the scoring the Yankees would get.

In the seventh, David Robertson walked Mike Moustakas before allowing a double to Pérez that put the game on ice for the Royals.

Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder each threw one inning of scoreless relief.


Rehab Update:

  • Billy McKinney: 2-for-4, 2B
  • Greg Bird: 1-for-3, HR, BB

Each played nine innings in Double-A Trenton’s 2-to-0 victory over the Bowie Baysox.


What’s Next:

Luis Severino gets the ball for the Yankees in the middle game of the series. Lefty Danny Duffy is his counterpart. Severino has not lost in his past six starts, while Duffy yielded nine runs in 3⅓ innings against the Cleveland Indians in his last start.

Game 41: CC Leads Yanks into KC

Game 42: CC Leads Yanks into KC ➡️

Whoa – Yankees baseball is back after far too much time without it. There’s no rain in the forecast tonight in Kansas City as CC Sabathia leads the Bombers into a three-game set with the Royals.

Sabathia was originally scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Washington Nationals, but that was washed out along with the remainder of Tuesday’s suspended game. He stumbled a bit in his last start against the Red Sox on May 10, where he gave up four earned runs in four innings. That start saw his season ERA jump from a stingy 1.39 to a still-impressive 2.23. The veteran has a career 21-11 record and 3.14 ERA in 39 career starts against the Royals. It’ll be interesting to see how Sabathia responds to the extra rest, since he has a career 4.09 ERA in 71 starts with 6+ days of rest.

The Yankees face off against righty Jakob Junis in the series opener. Through eight starts this season, Junis has been one of the Royals’ most consistent pitchers. He’s got a 4-3 record, and has given up two runs or less in five out of those eight starts. Unsurprisingly, the Royals have won each of those five starts. Junis faced the Yankees once last season, giving up six earned runs on seven hits. Aaron Judge and Greg Bird each homered off him in an eventual 11-to-3 Yankees win.


Clint Frazier remains with the Yankees as a fourth bench option. It seems likely that he will start in left or center for Saturday and/or Sunday’s games against lefties Danny Duffy and Eric Skoglund, respectively. Brett Gardner has hit just .188/.278/.188 in a 37 plate appearance sample against lefties this season, and Aaron Hicks has hit an even worse .115/.172/.154 in 29 plate appearances against southpaws. Definitely doesn’t hurt to get Red Thunder and his .362/.423/.702 line from Triple-A into the lineup.

The Yankees feel comfortable with an expanded bench since their bullpen has had ample rest because of Wednesday’s rainout and Thursday’s regularly scheduled off-day. Domingo Germán will be available out of the bullpen during the Royals series, though he is also scheduled to start May 22 against the Texas Rangers.

There was brief confusion prior to the game regarding who is actually starting at second base, with the first lineup indicating Ronald Torreyes at that spot. It turns out the Royals made an error on the video board, and that’s how Torreyes’ name got into the mix. The plan was to start Gleyber Torres all along, per Aaron Boone.


Here’s the most recent update on the two injured Yankees on their rehab assignments (each has played six games):

  • Greg Bird (right ankle surgery): 2-for-17 (.118/.348/.118), 6 BB, 4 K – Bird may be a bit rusty, but his plate discipline is in full form.
  • Billy McKinney (left shoulder sprain): 3-for-19 (.158/.360/.211), 6 BB, 6 K – McKinney has one extra base hit.

Not rehab related, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported today that Brandon Drury (migraines, blurred vision) is taking the full 72 hours allotted to him to report to Triple-A Scranton “not because he is upset with the club, but because he wants to squeeze in two extra visits with a specialist in Greenwich, Ct., who is treating him for an irritated tendon in his neck”. Drury was optioned to Triple-A on May 14 after his 20-day rehab assignment window expired, and reported back to SWB today.

Definitely not rehab related: Jacoby Ellsbury has suffered a minor back injury while trying to come back from approximately five different injuries and has now been shut down from baseball activities.


Royals Lineup

  1. Whit Merrifield – 2B
  2. Jorge Soler – RF
  3. Mike Moustakas – 3B
  4. Salvador Pérez – C
  5. Jon Jay – LF
  6. Hunter Dozier – 1B
  7. Alex Gordon – DH
  8. Alcides Escobar – SS
  9. Abraham Almonte – CF
    Jakob Junis – RHP

Billy McKinney Suffers Left Shoulder Sprain; Miguel Andújar Recalled

Another outfielder is down.

Boy, have the Yankees had bad luck with outfield prospects beginning their careers recently. Billy McKinney, who replaced the injured Aaron Hicks on the active roster, has gone down after he sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder crashing into the outfield wall in left field at Rogers Centre.

McKinney stayed in for one play after the injury, but was quickly lifted once it was clear that his throwing arm was compromised. The 23-year-old went 1-for-4 in his debut game, but did not come to the plate in his second game. He was replaced by Brett Gardner in left field.

The Yankees now have some very limited outfield depth with McKinney joining Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier on the disabled list. They have started to play Giancarlo Stanton more in left field, and can turn to Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes in an emergency situation.

After Wade and Torreyes, the situation becomes even more murky. Shane Robinson was in camp as a non-roster invitee, and there were impressive contributions from lower-level prospects like Estevan Florial, Trey Amburgey and Jeff Hendrix.

Before turning to any of their minor league depth, the Yankees certainly have to be rooting for one of Ellsbury, Frazier or Hicks to return from injury. For the time being, Stanton in left, Gardner in center and Aaron Judge in right will have to do.


To replace McKinney on the roster, the Yankees promoted 3B/1B Miguel Andújar from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The RailRiders do not open their season until April 6, so Andújar might be best served on the big league roster anyway. Andújar slashed .267/.306/.622 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 15 Spring Training games this year. He is ranked as the team’s No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline.

By adding Andújar as infield insurance, Aaron Boone can have a little more liberty with his utility players.

Aaron Hicks Placed on 10-Day Disabled List; Billy McKinney Recalled From SWB

Well, this isn’t great. Billy McKinney is back, though.

Well, this isn’t ideal. The Yankees’ PR Twitter account announced Friday that Opening Day center fielder Aaron Hicks has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right intercostal muscle strain. Outfielder Billy McKinney has been recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take his spot on the active roster.

There’s no clear evidence as to when in last night’s season opener Hicks suffered his injury. Hicks went 2-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. He spent most of 2017 as the Yankees’ primary center fielder, slashing .266/.372/.475 (127 wRC+) with 15 home runs in 88 games. He did spend extended time on the disabled list in 2017 with a nagging oblique injury.

McKinney impressed with his power in Spring Training after being added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. He slashed .167/.340/.524 with five homers and 13 RBIs while seeing time in the outfield corners and first base. He picked up a first baseman’s glove again for the first time since high school with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. McKinney showed his first round promise last year between Double-A and Triple-A, slashing a combined .277/.338/.483 with 16 home runs and 64 RBIs between the two levels.


This injury complicates things slightly for rookie manager Aaron Boone. Luckily, he has a lot of versatility that he can deploy with his bench. I think we might see a bit of Tyler Wade in the outfield now, with Neil Walker sliding to second base and Tyler Austin getting more reps at first base. Brett Gardner likely slides into center field to replace Hicks.

Of course, Giancarlo Stanton can also play left field, though the plan with that was to limit his time out there to games against tough left-handed pitchers. McKinney can play both outfield corners as well.

The news out of Tampa continues to be promising about Jacoby Ellsbury, whom Brian Cashman said needed “40-50 at-bats” before he would return from an oblique injury suffered early in Spring Training. Even with all of his faults, Ellsbury’s ability to play center field would greatly help the Yankees.

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.

Yankees Send Andújar, Florial to Minor League Camp

These Baby Bombers will have to wait for their shot.

The Yankees sent two Top 10 prospects down to minor league camp Sunday, as No. 4 third baseman Miguel Andújar and No. 2 outfielder Estevan Florial were reassigned to minor league camp.

Andújar, who is a member of the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton. Prior to the Yankees’ trade for Brandon Drury, Andújar was the local favorite to break camp as the team’s third baseman. He is currently tied with outfielder Billy McKinney for the team lead in home runs this spring with four. He slashed .262/.273/.643 in 14 games prior to his demotion. The knock on Andújar is his defense, where his scouting report says “he still needs to polish some rough edges”.

Interestingly enough, the Yankees decided to expand Andújar’s defensive portfolio by having him play first base now that he is in minor league camp.

Florial, who is not Rule 5 Draft eligible until December 2019, was simply reassigned to minor league camp. He will likely open the season with Class-A Advanced Tampa or Double-A Trenton. The speedy outfielder impressed with his maturity for a player who just turned 20 this past November. He slashed .231/.333/.462 with three triples, three RBIs and two stolen bases in his 18 games in big league camp.

The Yankees are looking for Florial to work on making more consistent contact, given that he struck out at a 31% rate in the low minors last season. He has a plus arm, and the speed to stick in center field.