The Yankees called up left-handed reliever James Pazos yesterday when they placed Alex Rodriguez on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring. Pazos likely served as insurance in case CC Sabathia struggled against the Orioles and needed to chew up a large chunk of available relievers. Sabathia pitched extremely well and allowed Girardi to preserve his better relievers for the series finale, however.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch and needed to leave Wednesday's game. The elbow is apparently still sore, and the team is going to need some outfield insurance until they know just how long Gardner is going to need to sit out to recover. Chad Jennings of LoHud revealed that a source has told him the team will be calling up outfielder Ben Gamel for the final game in Baltimore. That allows Girardi to still DH Carlos Beltran while Rodriguez is out while also playing Gamel instead of Dustin Ackley in left field.
Gamel had a breakout season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2015, and he is off to a fine start this season as well. He's currently batting .286/.346/.363 with seven stolen bases in 23 games for the RailRiders. Hopefully Gamel is able to provide a spark similar to the way that Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams did last season. Both those guys struggled for relevance before showing they could perform at the highest level. The team has obviously been impressed by what Gamel has done the last season+ and want to give him a shot to prove it's all for real.
How long Gamel's promotion will last is anyone's guess at this point. A lot of it may depend on whether Gardner's sore elbow turns into a disabled list situation or not. It will probably be a fluid situation depending on what the team needs at any given time. If a starter fails to go deep into a game and the bullpen needs some relief, they could swap him out for a reliever. Hopefully he gets a real chance to show what he has got before that happens, though.
Although Gamel isn't the Yankees top prospect or anything, he could still be a valuable contributor to the team. He is a great defender who has been doing a lot offensively at the highest level of the minors. Shaking things up, even by necessity, can't hurt with the way things have been going. Gamel is getting a chance to shine without needing to be a long-term replacement, which is probably the best way to set him up for success. Everyone wants the Yankees to give their young players a chance, and this is a clear example of that.
Roster Moves: Prior to tonight's game, the Yankees recalled OF Ben Gamel from @swbrailriders and optioned LHP James Pazos to Scranton/WB— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) May 5, 2016