Earlier today, the Yankees announced that the team optioned outfielder Mike Tauchman to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. This move precedes the activation of Aaron Hicks, who will rejoin the club tonight.
Tauchman, 28, joined the Yankees through a late spring training trade with the Rockies. While initially expected to play a fourth outfielder role while Hicks sat on the shelf, a series of injuries forced him into the lineup every day. He hit a respectable .213/.314/.427 with four home runs. His 99 wRC+ over 102 plate appearances means he essentially brought a league-average bat with him. It’s hard to complain about that level of production from a replacement outfielder.
While Tauchman’s first stint in pinstripes ends today, the team maintains confidence in him.
“We saw (Tauchman) as a versatile guy who could play left, center and right,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). “We felt there was more (potential) impact with the bat, although I can’t tell you we’ve unlocked that as of yet. I still think it’s there.”
The corresponding move will come when the Yankees officially activate Hicks. The center fielder had been sidelined since early March with what’s described as chronic back pain. His return, however, will give the lineup a much-needed boost. Since the start of the 2017 season, the 29-year-old has hit .255/.368/.470 with 42 home runs, good for a 127 wRC+.
The replacement players — including Tauchman — did a fine job in the early goings. Now it will be nice to have a regular Yankee back in the lineup.