Yankees: Breaking down Saturday’s surprising roster moves


The Yankees made a number of roster moves on Saturday ahead of their doubleheader against the Rays.

Out of nowhere, New York Yankees fans learned on Saturday afternoon that backup catcher Kyle Higashioka suffered an oblique injury and was placed on the 10-day injured list. That’s a notable loss given Higgy’s contributions, especially when you consider Gary Sanchez’s struggles on offense.

The Bombers passed up on Chris Iannetta and gave the nod to Erik Kratz, who will take Higashioka’s roster spot. Pitching prospect Albert Abreu, who was acquired in the Brian McCann trade with the Astros, was also called up to the big league roster after fellow right-hander Nick Tropeano was designated for assignment.

So, what does this mean for the Yankees?

Well, for starters, Kratz provides familiarity for this roster. The 11-year veteran has been with the Yankees organization in the past and appeared in two games back in 2017. Fun fact: he’s batting 1.000 as a member of the Yankees, registering two hits in two at-bats. He’s also a reliable veteran presence who’s known for his defensive/game-calling abilities.

As for Abreu, this could be an opportunity to make his MLB debut. The flame-throwing righty hasn’t seen much success in the Yankees’ minor league system, and at 24 years old, the reality is that he can’t remain there much longer. It’s time for him to prove he’s worth a spot on this roster.

Injures and some issues with his accuracy have held him back a bit, but his high-90s fastball is what’s keeping the organization intrigued. If he can bring his top-notch stuff to the bullpen, perhaps he can carve out a little role for himself.

If not, this could be the end of the road for him in the Bronx.

Aside from all that, expect Higgy to be on the IL for longer than the 10-day designation, which was retroactive to Thursday. Obliques are especially tricky and nagging, so Kratz will likely be with the big league club for the foreseeable future.