Gio Urshela has quietly been one of the most valuable Yankees ever since his breakout season out of seemingly nowhere in 2019. In fact, among Yankees, only DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge have registered more WAR by FanGraphs standards over the past three seasons than Urshela (5.9).
Urshela’s glove mostly speaks for itself, but while his bat hasn’t been quite as sensational this year as it was from 2019-20, he’s still provided above-league-average production with a .274/.315/.439 triple slash powered by 16 doubles, 11 homers, and a 106 wRC+ in 84 games. Although the Yankees have been scorching hot in August, it hasn’t been the same without Urshela manning the hot corner (especially with the inexperienced Rougned Odor mostly filling in). He hasn’t started a game since July 29th in Tampa Bay, and a setback while on the injured list turned his hamstring strain into essentially a month-long absence.
The Yankees won’t have to wait any longer for Urshela, though. After two successful rehab appearances, they’ve activated him and he will be with the team tonight as they begin a seven-game West Coast road trip through Oakland and Anaheim. They already had an opening on the 26-man roster, as they had optioned outfielder Jonathan Davis back to Triple-A Scranton following the two-game set in Atlanta. (Pitcher Brody Koerner was also outrighted off the 40-man roster.)
Expect to see Urshela in the starting lineup tonight for first pitch at 9:40pm at the Coliseum. Urshela could also theoretically help at shortstop with Gleyber Torres still recovering, but the smart money says that the Yankees will play it safe and keep Urshela in his standard position at third. They already have a couple other infielders more accustomed to shortstop currently on the roster in Andrew Velazquez and Tyler Wade.