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Yankees lose Jose Trevino to hamstring strain, call up Ben Rortvedt

The Yanks’ primary catcher is hitting the IL, while the last player from 2022’s big Twins trade finally joins New York.

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New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The first couple months of 2023 have not been particularly healthy ones for the Yankees. Since the start of spring training, they’ve lost Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson, Harrison Bader, Oswald Peraza, Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino, Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Loáisiga, Ian Hamilton, Lou Trivino, and Frankie Montas to the injured list, and the only ones to make a successful comeback to the bigs thus far have been Judge and Bader (Severino is on track to return Sunday).

Toss another name on the pile, as the Yankees just announced that catcher Jose Trevino will hit the 10-day IL with a hamstring strain. Ben Rortvedt has come up from Triple-A to take the 2022 All-Star’s spot on the roster.

The news was surprising, as there hadn’t been any indication that Trevino was injured. As noted by beat writer Bryan Hoch, he was replaced by a pinch-runner during the 10-inning marathon last night, but it’s customary for managers to replace their slow-footed catchers on the basepaths in key situations.

Instead, the Yankees will now be without their Platinum Glove Award-winning backstop for at least the next week and a half.

Trevino wasn’t contributing much with the bat (.219/.265/.333 with three homers and a 65 wRC+ in 102 PA), but the pitching staff will surely miss his game calling and rock-solid defensive work behind the dish. Expect the lion’s share of the starts, including tonight, to go to Kyle Higashioka, who isn’t the same defender as Trevino but has hit a little better early in 2023 for what it’s worth (.211/.274/.404 with three homers and an 86 wRC+ in 62 PA).

Of mild interest is the forthcoming Yankees debut for Rortvedt, who was actually expected to be Higashioka’s backup when New York acquired him from Minnesota as part of the March 2022 trade that sent Gio Urshela and Gary Sánchez to the Twins in exchange for Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He only mustered a 41 wRC+ in 39 games as a rookie in 2021 but was expected to have a steady glove. However, Rortvedt had a nagging oblique injury and missed the start of the season, which creating an opening that general manager Brian Cashman filled by acquiring Trevino through a steal of a trade with the Rangers.

Rortvedt required knee surgery in May for meniscus cleanup, and that kept him out of action until mid-July. By the time he was truly ready to play, Trevino had fully climbed to the top of the organizational depth chart behind the plate, and with Higashioka an acceptable backup, there was no need to bring Rortvedt to the Bronx. He finished off his wayward 2022 with 42 games in Triple-A Scranton, where he hit .221/.307/.396 with an 86 wRC+ that didn’t exactly demand more consideration. He was very briefly up with the big league team for a couple games in September, but he did not play.

Now, the 25-year-old Rortvedt will actually get a chance to don the tools of ignorance for the Yankees and put an end to the running joke (which we’ve admittedly prolonged) that he’s some sort of fictional deepfake and doesn’t actually exist. If he is a deepfake, then he’s been a good one in 10 games since joining Scranton following a scary shoulder aneurysm in camp. Rortvedt homered in Charlotte last night as part of a three-hit game and has a 155 wRC+ in 42 plate appearances.