When Brendan Ryan went down with an injury in today's spring training game, the Yankees didn't have much of a backup plan for their backup shortstop. An MRI revealed that Ryan had a Grade 2 right calf strain, which should keep him out of action for at least a month. As Tanya noted earlier, there weren't many internal options to fill Ryan's role. So GM Brian Cashman made a deal with the Astros to bring infielder Gregorio Petit aboard:
The #Yankees grab IF insurance policy in Gregorio Petit from #Astros for cash consideration while Brendan Ryan recovers from calf strain.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 2, 2015
This obviously isn't going to be a move that will excite many fans outside of the Petit family (and maybe some illiterate Andy Pettitte fans), but it's the role of a backup infielder. He probably won't be playing much. Petit's not the worst bench option, either. He's a righthanded hitter with experience all around the infield, save for first base, and he's spent most of his time at shortstop, where he's a fine defensive player.
At bat, Petit might not be quite the give-up that Ryan was either, as he hit .278/.300/.423 with 10 extra-base hits and a 104 wRC+ in 100 plate appearances for the Astros in 2014. At Triple-A Oklahoma City, he fared just fine as well, hitting .297/.340/.457 with an identical 104 wRC+. Even though I doubt he maintains those margins, there's a modest chance he'll fare better than Ryan hitting anyway. (HIGH EXPECTATIONS, YEAH!) No, he's not prime Derek Jeter at the plate, but he doesn't need to be. He's a better option than the other shortstops the Yankees had in camp like Cole Figueroa and Nick Noonan, and there's a good chance the Yankees end up releasing him when Ryan is healthy again, anyway.
Some fans would have preferred to see second baseman Rob Refsnyder called up to fill the roster spot with him backing up Stephen Drew at second, who could fill in at his old shortstop position when Didi Gregorius needed a day off. However, since what Refsnyder quite plainly needs to work on is his defense at second, riding the bench for about a month isn't exactly going to help with that. He'll get his reps in Triple-A Scranton, and provided his defense improves, he'll get his shot in due time. For the interim, Petit will fit the backup role just fine. Plus, there's this:
Beautiful... in an abstract/maybe not really/maybe I'm trying to make lemonade out of children's tears kind of way.