New York Yankees backup catcher Kyle Higashioka was scratched from Tuesday’s Spring Training game with what the team labeled “side soreness”.
“We didn’t want to mess with anything too much,” Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said.
Although this seems to be nothing serious, this could potentially be an interesting test of the Yankees catching depth. Higashioka has had some oblique issues in the past, so it’s definitely something to watch for.
Robinson Chirinos, who was expected to contend for the back-up catcher spot, is headed to the IL with a wrist injury. Chirinos fractured his wrist when he was hit by a pitch and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Along with Higashioka and Chirinos, Adam Warren (shoulder), Miguel Andujar (hand/wrist), Zack Britton (elbow), and Clarke Schmidt (elbow) are all dealing with injuries.
If Higashioka were to head to the IL, it would take him out of contention for a spot on the Opening Day roster. In that case, the Yankees would likely turn to Rob Brantly, who’s put together a nice Spring Training. He’s gotten hits in three of seven at-bats; two of which were home runs. Brantley has driven in five and has an OPS of 1.786.
Right now, Higashioka doesn’t have a return timeline, but Aaron Boone said that he felt fine. If for some reason Higashioka isn’t okay by Opening Day, the Yankees have Brantly and starting catcher Gary Sanchez to fill the void. Fortunately, things don’t seem to be too serious for Higashioka, and he should be back in the Spring Training lineup soon.
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