The New York Yankees were so done with Gary Sanchez as their starting catcher that they were willing to lean on a platoon of Ben Rortvedt and Kyle Higashioka in the 2022 season. Flipping Sanchez and Gio Urshela to the Minnesota Twins brought back a potential starting catcher in addition to Josh Donaldson.
The Yankees went into spring training expecting some big strides out of Rortvedt. Just 24 years old with a sweet left-handed swing and the potential to take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short right field, Rortvedt becoming a force on offense could be a game-changer for this lineup.
Unfortunately, because the Yankees seem almost physically incapable of getting all of their projected starters healthy at the same time, Rortvedt is not going to be showing off his power for the foreseeable future. There is a chance we don’t even see him when Opening Day comes around.
According to Aaron Boone, Rortvedt has suffered an oblique injury that is currently preventing him from participating in hitting drills. Rortvedt is still doing defensive work, but this injury will leave his availability for Opening Day in serious doubt. The injury problems of yesteryear persist.
The New York Yankees lost catcher Ben Rortvedt to an oblique injury.
Rortvedt hit just .169 and posted an OPS+ of 41 with the twins. Still, the Yankees apparently saw enough minor league production and defensive potential to pull the trigger on a trade. Fans will need to wait a little bit before they can see a healthy Rortvedt take some hacks at the plate.
The only other catcher on the 40-man roster is Higashioka, meaning that Rob Brantly might need to end up on the Opening Day roster if Rortvedt’s injury ends up being significant and the Yankees don’t make another signing. This is the dictionary definition of suboptimal.
While the Yankees traded Sanchez, who could at least provide some pop in the heart of the order, for the now-injured Rortvedt, the Twins added two new starters while saving enough financial wiggle room to sign Carlos Correa. Spring Training has not gone as smoothly as the Yankees would’ve hoped.
Unless Rortvedt returns from this injury and immediately turns into prime Jorge Posada, the Yankees are going to be scraping the bottom of the proverbial battle in order to find production from the catcher spot. The injury problems that have sucked the life out of the squad in recent years continue to show up.