One day, a sports writer will chronicle the story of the 2019 Yankees. An early frontrunner for the book’s title is Next Man Up. Unfortunately the team had to revisit that mentality on Wednesday night, as Mark Feinsand reports Troy Tulowitzki is heading to the injured list. As a corresponding move, the team is expected to call up infield prospect Thairo Estrada.
The Yankees lost Tulowitzki to a calf strain during the series finale against the Tigers. The shortstop played three innings before being removed from the game. Gleyber Torres moved over from second base to shortstop, while Tyler Wade stepped in at the keystone. After the game, Aaron Boone described the injury as low-grade strain, but one that would require time on the shelf.
Tulowitzki, 34, was hitting .182/.308/.545 with a home run through the early goings of the season. He missed the entirety of the 2018 campaign due to injuries. Based on his health history, a trip to the injured list never seemed out of the realm of possibility for the shortstop. The Yankees took that risk prior to signing him as a replacement for the already-injured Didi Gregorius.
To replace Tulowitzki on the roster, the Yankees are turning to the 23-year-old Estrada. The infielder had a solid spring training, hitting .267/.371/.433 across 30 at-bats. He missed most of the 2018 season while recovering from a gunshot wound suffered earlier in the year.
Estrada ranks as the team’s number 19 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. They believe he would hold his own playing shortstop or second base at the big league level, but questions exist regarding his bat. Here’s an excerpt from their scouting report on him:
“Though Estrada has controlled the strike zone and made repeated line-drive contact throughout his career, he doesn’t have a lot of offensive upside. He doesn’t provide much power with his flat right-handed stroke and rarely walks because he puts the ball in play so easily. He has solid speed but doesn’t show much aptitude for basestealing.”
The Yankees don’t necessarily need Estrada to come up and rake. The team would probably be happy if he stays healthy, plays fine off the bench, and isn’t an automatic out. They just need to tread water until the big league reinforcements arrive. Hopefully that’s sooner rather than later.
Update (4/4/2019): And it’s official. Tulowitzki is the 11th player on the injured list for the Yankees. Goodness.