Tag: Erik Kratz

Erik Kratz Traded to Brewers; Adam Lind Released

The Yankees made two minor league moves Friday afternoon, trading Triple-A catcher Erik Kratz to the Brewers and releasing 1B/OF Adam Lind. The Yankees signed utility man Wilkin Castillo, primarily a catcher, out of the independent Atlantic League yesterday likely knowing Kratz would be dealt today.

Kratz, 37, came to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations ahead of the September 1 roster expansion date in 2017. His acquisition came at a time where the Yankees needed catching depth because of looming suspensions to both Austin Romine and Gary Sánchez. Kratz went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs in four appearances for the Yankees. This season in Triple-A, he was hitting .269/.356/.538 with four home runs and six RBIs in the International League. The Brewers selected Kratz to their 25-man active roster today.

Lind was released as the Yankees await the return of Greg Bird to the everyday lineup. This all but confirms that Tyler Austin will be demoted to Triple-A when Bird is officially activated Saturday. Lind was hitting .241/.302/.414 with one home run and seven RBIs in eight games prior to his release. The minor league contract he signed contained an opt-out for June 1, and the Yankees gave him a head-start on his free agency with this release.

Castillo was with the Yankees in 2017, though only in minor league duty. The 33-year-old is a switch-hitter, and has appeared at every position except for center field in his minor league career. Between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, he slashed .196/.243/.286 with three home runs and 13 RBIs. He’s there to play defense and give the other minor leaguers a breather every once in a while. Castillo was hitting .314/.400/.486 through 20 games with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.


The Yankees activated RHP Tommy Kahnle from the 10-day disabled list prior to Friday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

Tommy Kahnle to Return Friday; Greg Bird on Saturday

Badly needed reinforcements are headed to the Bronx, as key contributors RHP Tommy Kahnle and 1B Greg Bird are set to be activated from the disabled list during the upcoming series against the Los Angeles Angels. Manager Aaron Boone provided the information in a radio interview with Mike Francesa.

The bullpen proved overworked in an ugly loss Wednesday in Texas, where the Yankees’ offense scored 10 runs but were bested by 12 from the Rangers. Tommy Kahnle will provide extra length as he serves as another arm Boone can trust in a high-leverage situation. Kahnle last pitched April 12 in Boston, before a concerning velocity drop led the Yankees to discover his right shoulder tendinitis. That likely explains his unsightly 6.14 ERA (5.69 FIP) as well as astronomical 9.8 walks-per-nine rate. So far on his rehab assignment, Kahnle has allowed two earned runs in five innings of work.

Greg Bird returns to a first base position that has actually been handled well in his absence. The 25-year-old did not make the trip north for the Yankees’ opening series in Toronto due to another surgery on a small bone spur in his right ankle. Doctors removed a coin-sized calcium deposit from the joint. Yankees first basemen have combined to hit .238/.296/.431 with nine homers and 33 RBIs to this point in the season, so they have the luxury to ease Bird back into things. I would expect the Yankees to demote an extra reliever (likely A.J. Cole) so that they can keep both Tyler Austin and Neil Walker on the active roster. On his rehab assignment, Bird has slashed .205/.367/.436 with three home runs. He likely will play one more game with the RailRiders Friday in Scranton.


Gary Sánchez, who left Tuesday night’s game with calf cramps and did not start in Wednesday’s game, will likely start behind the plate as normal to catch Luis Severino in Friday’s series opener. He’ll get at least the half-day-off Saturday as Sonny Gray will start.

Prior to Boone’s interview with Francesa, there was nervousness regarding Sánchez’s health as the team signed catcher Wilkin Castillo out of the independent Atlantic League and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. No word at this point if either of their catchers, Kyle Higashioka or Erik Kratz, are going through any injury issues. Castillo is actually quite versatile as well, logging innings at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field. And, yes, he logged 6⅔ innings on the mound for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in 2015.

Earlier today, the Yankees activated outfielder Billy McKinney (left shoulder sprain) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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.

Yankees 4, Pirates 1: McKinney Wins It

The outfielder-turned-first-baseman hits the Yankees’ first homer at a perfect moment.

Billy McKinney gets a big moment under his belt early in Spring Training by belting a go-ahead three-run home run to win the Yankees’ matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Bombers opened scoring in the fourth with clutch hitting from an unlikely source: non-roster catcher Erik Kratz. Danny Espinosa and Ronald Torreyes walked, then Kratz singled to right field to score Espinosa for a 1-0 lead.

The Pirates responded with a monstrous solo home run by Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning off right-hander Dillon Tate. That was the extent of the Pirates on the board, however, as their other six hits amounted to nothing.

The score remained knotted at one until the ninth. Jace Peterson walked, Miguel Andújar singled and then McKinney launched his first homer (and the Yankees’ first homer) of the Spring out to right field.

Jonathan Holder pitched around a 1-out double by Cole Tucker in the bottom half of the frame to secure the Yankees’ second victory of the spring.

Next up: the Philadelphia Phillies at their complex in Clearwater.

Yankees Sign Wade LeBlanc to Minor League Contract

The Yankees added lefty pitching depth Tuesday, signing veteran Wade LeBlanc to a minor league deal per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

 

Like the tweet says, LeBlanc will be able to opt out of his contract if he does not make the MLB team out of Spring Training. He will make $1 million if he ends up on the Opening Day roster.

LeBlanc, 33, debuted for the San Diego Padres late in the 2008 season. He pitched once for the Yankees in 2014, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk. The team designated him for assignment just eight days after acquiring him off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

In 2017, LeBlanc made 50 appearances out of the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished the season with a 4.50 ERA and a 7.1 strikeouts-per-nine rate. He was used in a versatile manner, making 20 appearances where he recorded more than three outs. His longest outing was 5⅓ innings April 10 against the Cincinnati Reds, when Tyler Glasnow could not escape the first-inning.

LeBlanc will be in camp to compete as a depth starter and long reliever. The Yankees bullpen is mostly set at this point, but things certainly change once the Grapefruit League gets revved up. He looks to profile as an Adam Warren-like pitcher, who can throw multiple innings in relief and also be ready to make an emergency start. It’s unclear if LeBlanc would consider remaining with the organization if he does not crack the big league roster.

The Yankees now have three players with non-roster invitee status this spring: LeBlanc joins Erik Kratz and Jace Peterson as veterans looking for a new club.

Yankees to Sign Jace Peterson to MiLB Deal

The Yankees have reportedly made another depth signing Friday, inking former Atlanta Braves infielder Jace Peterson to a minor league contract, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The deal presumably includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. The club has not confirmed the signing.

Peterson, 27, was drafted with the 58th overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He debuted with them three years later, ironically enough as an injury replacement for former Yankee and current Padre Chase Headley. He was a piece in the trade that sent outfielder Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves to the Padres prior to the 2015 season. Peterson was non-tendered by the Braves after the 2017 season.

Here’s a look at his 2017 stats:

Year Age Tm G PA AB H HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2017 27 ATL 89 215 186 40 2 17 3 27 48 .215 .318 .317 .635

Fangraphs measured Peterson at -0.4 fWAR for his 2017 contributions. As a non-roster player, he is looking to prove to the Yankees organization that he deserves a spot in the system as a lefty-swinging utility player. He had suited up at all seven non-pitcher/catcher positions for the Braves over the past two seasons. Plus, his experience as a player with starting experience in the big leagues should prove valuable in a clubhouse full of younger players.

Peterson joins catcher Erik Kratz as the second player reportedly coming to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. Undoubtedly, the Yankees will continue to bring outsiders and younger players into camp as they construct their team for the 2018 season.

Yankees Re-Sign Erik Kratz

The Yankees added to their catching depth Wednesday, inking veteran Erik Kratz to another minor league deal. There is no word if the deal carries an invite to MLB Spring Training.

Kratz originally came to the Yankees ahead of the postseason roster deadline of Aug. 31. He was added to the 40-man roster because of an injury to the other third-string backstop Kyle Higashioka. Kratz was perfect at the plate, hitting to a 1.000/1.000/1.500 slashline with two RBIs.

The veteran was not on the postseason roster, though he traveled with the team during the ALDS and ALCS. The Yankees attempted to outright Kratz at the end of the season, but he declined the assignment and became a free agent. Kratz has previously played with the Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays, Royals and the Astros prior to the Yankees.