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Yankees release Gio Gonzalez from minor league contract

The veteran left-hander opted out of his deal two days ago, and the Yankees officially made him a free agent.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees announced that they have released Gio Gonzalez from his minor league contract, making the veteran left-hander a free agent. Gonzalez had signed his deal with the team in March, but exercised an opt-out in the contract two days ago. Now that the Yankees have declined to add him to the 25-man roster, Gonzalez is again free to sign with any other club.

When the Yankees first signed Gonzalez, they quickly indicated that they saw him more as an insurance policy. Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga were the first options to take Luis Severino and CC Sabathia’s vacated rotation slots, and only if another need arose would Gonzalez be called upon. True to their word, the Yankees relied upon Loaisiga and German, and have now released Gonzalez.

Gonzalez looked rusty in his first appearances after signing, yielding five runs in his only spring training start and getting shelled for eight runs in four innings in his Triple-A RailRiders debut. He appears to have shaken off the rust, however, having struck out 18 batters over his past 11 innings in the minors, allowing two runs and three walks in the process.

Given the injury nightmare that has struck the Yankees, it’s a bit shocking that Gonzalez’s services were never needed. German has filled in admirably in the rotation, and Sabathia’s reintroduction to the rotation has gone swimmingly. With no other injuries striking the rotation, Gonzalez doesn’t have much of a role on the Yankees’ roster right now.

Of course, given the trajectory of this 2019 season so far, it seems only likely that some unfortunate ailment will befall one of the remaining members of the Yankees’ staff. Hopefully, the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ keep it together now that the fall-back option of Gonzalez is gone.