Yankees: Gio Urshela making the most of his opportunities

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 06: Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees throws the ball against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 06: Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees throws the ball against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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After the injuries to both Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki, the Yankees were forced to call-up infielder Gio Urshela from Triple-A Scranton. Since arriving Urshela has made the most of his opportunities on both sides of the ball and has earned the right to be in the everyday lineup moving forward.

Prior to joining the Yankees organization, last August Urshela struggled to get consistent playing time during stints with the Indians (2015-17) and the Blue Jays (2018). Since entering the big leagues Urshela has always been considered a gold glove caliber defender at third base but he’s struggled offensively with a .228 career batting average.

When Miguel Andujar went down during the first week of the season with a small labrum tear the Yanks called up Tyler Wade to replace him. Wade deserved the call up after the very strong spring he had but since he’s arrived he’s done nothing with the bat, hitting .176.

After Tulo went down with a calf strain a couple of days later the Yanks selected Urshela’s contract and added him to the 40-man roster. The expectation was that Urshela and Wade would split the playing time and on the days Urshela started D.J. LeMahieu would shift back to second base. When Wade started LeMahieu would play third.

That was the plan at first but now it looks like Urshela has taken over as the everyday third basemen and Wade has been relegated to a bench role. In 20 at-bats so far this season Urshela is hitting .300 with three doubles and an OBP of .417. He’s had a limited number of at-bats but he’s been way more productive than Wade’s been and his defense has been as good as advertised.

Tuesday night against the rival Red Sox Urshela’s defense was on full display as he made one of the best plays you’ll see from anyone all season.

The play was Manny Machado-esque and showcased how much of a cannon Ushela has at the hot corner. Not many players in baseball are capable of making a play like that and it’s one you’ll see on the highlight reels for years to come. Urshela also contributed with his bat going 1-4 with a double and a run scored in what was an 8-0 Yankees rout over Boston.

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In the coming weeks, I’m sure Wade will get a start here and there to give some of the starters in the infield a day off but the Yankees best lineup right now is with Urshela at third and LeMahieu at second. LeMahieu has been solid at third in a handful of starts but he’s a gold glove second basemen and Urshela has that kind of potential at third base.

With the timetable for Tulo and Miggy’s return still very much uncertain (especially Miggy), Urshela is going to continue to play a lot, as he should. The odds of him hitting .300 for the rest of the season might be slim but as long as he can continue to pick up timely hits and play above average defense he’s going to make a nice impact and help the Yankees win ball games.

Next. Yankees call up 1B Mike Ford, place Greg Bird on the IL. dark

Brian Cashman has made a ton of great trades for this Yankee team in recent years and while the one to acquire Urshela last August went very much under the radar it’s paying off now. Coming into the season I don’t think anyone expected this so it’s a credit to Cashman and most of all to Urshela for stepping up and helping this team at a time when they need it the most.