Yankees News: Higashioka making waves, team releases reserve outfielder

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Heading into the 2022 season, the New York Yankees projected that Kyle Higashioka would be the starting catcher with a platoon incorporated. The team acquired Ben Rortvedt in a bigger deal with the Minnesota Twins. An oblique injury and knee issue have disrupted his progress.

Yankees called upon Texas to help solve the problem, trading for José Treviño, who has been a spark plug on both offense and defense. So far this season, Treviño is hitting .300 with a 34.6% on-base rate, five homers, and 18 RBIs.

Treviño stole the starting job away from Higashioka, who had gone over 30 games without hitting a home run, his primary source of offensive production. However, he finally broke the cold streak against the Chicago Cubs this past weekend, smacking two homers in an 18–4 route.

“It feels like Judge and [Giancarlo] Stanton are always just hitting them over the fence,” Higashioka said. “But there’s some days where other people are going to have to step up. We have the kind of team where guys can do that.”

Higgy to the rescue!

Higashioka popped up once again in one of the most important moments of the Yankees’ 4–3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. With expected All-Star Shane McClanahan on the mound for Tampa, Higashioka had an opportunity to change the course of the game in the bottom of the 5th inning. With Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa on base, Higashioka slapped an inside fastball to left field, just getting it over the fence. The HR gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead.

Tampa took a big risk, intentionally walking IKF, putting Higgy in a more high-leverage spot. Coming through in a big moment like that will surely do a number on his confidence in a positive way. Kyle is now hitting .177 with three homers and 10 RBIs but is hitting .217 with a .652 slugging percentage in the month of June. Over his past two games, he’s picked up four hits, three homers, and five RBIs. Finally, it seems as if Higashioka is hitting his stride, perfect timing for the Yankees before the trade deadline.

Yankees release Ender Inciarte:

In other news, the Yankees released minor-league outfielder Ender Inciarte, according to Conor Foley of the Scranton Times-Tribune. Inciarte will look for an opportunity elsewhere after signing with the Yankees this past off-season. He made 34 appearances with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting .252 with a 33.6% on-base rate over 116 plate appearances. He also picked up four home runs along the way, walking 11.2% and striking out 14.7% of the time.

Inciarte wasn’t performing poorly at all, but it is possible he requested his release to look for a better opportunity on a major league squad. The Yankees ultimately have too much depth for Ender to receive a chance with the top team.