Yankees’ starting catcher makes immediate impact upon return from injury

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the Yankees‘ high hopes and expectations for rookie Austin Wells, their primary catcher will remain Jose Treviño heading into the 2024 season. Trevino is only one year removed from being the best defensive catcher in baseball, but after suffering a wrist tear that ended his 2023 campaign prematurely, he’s just looking to get back in the fold.

Treviño had suffered a calf strain several weeks ago, which she had been rehabilitating while Wells was developing chemistry with the team’s top pitchers. The 31-year-old returned to the Yankees lineup on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, making an immediate impact offensively. Over his first three appearances of spring training, Treviño recorded two hits, including a single and a homer, and collected two RBIs.

The Yankees Are Encouraged By Jose Treviño’s Progress

Clearly, Treviño hasn’t skipped a beat, and he’s ready to make a positive impact this upcoming year. Manager Aaron Boone certainly felt his loss last season when he was shut down.

“I think the loss of him last year was enormous for us,” Boone said. “I don’t want to understate how important I think Jose is to our team and to our clubhouse, what a force he is in our room. We missed that.”

Treviño has been fighting tooth and nail to get 100% healthy with about 16 days left of spring training. A few minor ailments have set him back in his ramp-up process, but the Yankees like where he’s at right now, and his offensive production on Sunday certainly suggests he’s ahead of the curve.

“It’s been a long road, man,” Trevino said. “I’m confident. Excited. A lot of emotions, a lot of people to thank along the way.”

Back in 2022, Treviño had the best strike rate in baseball, at 53.8%, and he also led the MLB with 17 catcher-framing runs. His framing qualities are top-notch, and his defensive efficiency is one of the best in the game, and the Yankees value that highly.

In fact, starting pitcher Nestor Cortes recalls how great he was just a few seasons ago and understands the nature of what he brings to a team that has World Series aspirations this year.

“The guy is an All-Star,” Cortes said down in Fort Myers, Fla. “He showed it in ‘22. He was hurt obviously last year but he’s a big part of this. He’s a guy that’s on the field really good but off the field, he brings a lot to this clubhouse. So we’re excited to see him play tomorrow. I wish it could have been today. Obviously [Austin Wells] did a great job with me, but having Trevy back is a big piece for us.”

Cortes made sure to throw Wells a bone, but the Yankees have no intention of forcing him into the starting role in his rookie year. They will likely platoon Treviño and Wells depending on the opposing pitcher, but the veteran of the two remains Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher.

READ MORE: The Yankees Might Have Dodged a Bullet With Gerrit Cole Injury: ‘Precautionary’

As Boone stated last week, the Yankees have one of the deepest catcher positions in the game, which is unusual given how thin some teams are at the spot.

They could even consider trading some of their depth in the coming months for pitching support, but for now, they will continue developing several players in the minor league system, including Carlos Narvaez and Agustin Ramirez.

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