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Yankees move Matt Carpenter to 60-day IL, sign Chi Chi González

Carpenter will work out at Somerset rather than travel to Texas to join the Yankees for the final series.

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The Yankees have been very careful monitoring Matt Carpenter’s rehab since the resurgent former All-Star broke his foot on a foul ball. He had been one of the best stories of the season, as he went from a veteran in Triple-A with Texas just trying to hang on to among the top hitters in baseball. In Carpenter’s 47-game stretch with the Yankees from late-May to early-August, he hit .305/.412/.727 with 15 homers and a 217 wRC+ — Judgian numbers and then some.

Once the 36-year-old smashed that ball off his foot in Seattle on August 9th though, his season was in jeopardy. If it had happened even a week earlier, Carpenter would most likely have been back with the Yankees by now. But while his rehab seems to be going well, New York decided that rather than bringing him back just for the final four games of the regular season in Texas, they’re going to have him work out in Somerset instead.

So in a procedural move to get the starter of today’s meaningless game against the Orioles (Chi Chi González) on the roster, they transferred Carpenter to the 60-day IL.

Carpenter’s IL stint will expire before the Yankees’ Division Series matchup begins on October 11th. So if they feel comfortable with his status, they can activate him, though it’s hard to imagine him immediately jumping in the starting lineup. Considering that Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino could both come up to bat in crucial late-game scenarios though, Carpenter makes for a dangerous pinch-hitter card for Boone to play, even with the rust. (Hell, if Giancarlo Stanton’s slump continues, he might start a game at DH if needed as well.)

As noted in the Yankees’ tweet, reliever Jacob Barnes was also designated for assignment. The veteran reliever joined the team briefly yesterday when Zack Britton’s season ended, and he pitched the final 1.2 innings of the 8-0 blowout win over Baltimore.

Now, it’s the 30-year-old González’s turn to soak up some innings for New York since there’s rain in the forecast and a doubleheader in Texas looming on Tuesday, so Aaron Boone and company didn’t want to use one their primary starters. Like Barnes, González washed out of the majors this year (he pitched with Minnesota and Milwaukee) before signing with the Yankees’ Triple-A team in Scranton at the end of August.

González will technically take Barnes’ spot on both the 40-man roster and the active roster. Carpenter’s spot was also temporarily cleared though since the Yankees plan to bring reliever Miguel Castro back from the 60-day IL tomorrow (he’ll surely take González’s active roster spot at that point). Lefty Wandy Peralta had also been discussed as a possibility for the Texas series, but like Carpenter, he’ll rehab in Somerset.

Castro has been on the 60-day IL since mid-July with a right shoulder strain. Acquired from the Mets for Joely Rodríguez just before Opening Day, he has solid strikeout stuff but sometimes runs into problems with his command. Castro had a 4.00 ERA, 3.75 FIP, and a 24.8-percent strikeout rate in 27 innings prior to his injury, albeit with a 10.7-percent walk rate as well.

The Yankees understandably like the more reliable Peralta more, and he’s far more likely to get tapped for the playoff roster. They would just like to get a fresh look at Castro in some stress-free games because it’s been so long since his last appearance.