Yankees promote spring training star to active roster

willie calhoun, yankees
Mar 4, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Willie Calhoun (24) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Josh Donaldson injury changed the whole roster landscape for the New York Yankees. DJ LeMahieu and Isiah Kiner-Falefa can theoretically fill in for him, but the team required reserve bats, and they went to Triple-A to fill their void.

Over the weekend, the Yankees selected the contract of outfielder Willie Calhoun from the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Calhoun has found MLB success in the past, but injuries, inconsistency, and a broken jaw from a pitch in spring training in 2020 signaled the start of a downward spiral.

Teams gave up on him this offseason, and the Yankees signed him to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. He was close to breaking camp with the team, but he went to Triple-A instead.

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The Yankees are giving Willie Calhoun a chance:

Now that he is needed on the major league roster, the Yankees selected his contract and gave him a spot. After sticking around for a few minor league games, he earned his place.

Calhoun had a solid spring training, with a .294/.379/.392 line, a home run, and a .771 OPS. He went a bit cold in the later stages of March, but his overall body of work was impressive.

Let’s not forget that Calhoun was once a top prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers’ farm systems. He graduated and showed excellent offensive ability until the 2020 campaign.

If he can show that his offensive production can be sustained over time, he will likely earn more opportunities going forward with the Yankees. In other words, his stay on the roster will almost exclusively depend on his performance.

The team is off to a solid 6-3 start, good enough for second place in the AL East division behind the scorching-hot Tampa Bay Rays and their 9-0 record.