The New York Yankees have a bit of an injury bug hitting the catcher position. Over the weekend, we learned that Ben Rortvedt suffered a finger injury that was connected to an aneurysm in his shoulder, which should keep him out for at least a month.
Rortvedt had been working diligently toward competing for the backup catcher position alongside Kyla Higashioka, but another injury has set him back.
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Nonetheless, that isn’t the only catcher to have suffered another issue, as Austin Wells fractured a rib, which should keep him out for a minimum of six weeks.
The Yankees were excited to see Austin Wells this spring:
Wells was a prominent non-roster invite to spring training, so the Yankees won’t be able to get any sample size of action against MLB-level talent. Wells projects to potentially get an opportunity down the stretch during the 2023 season, given his offensive qualities and lefty bat from the catcher position. Defensively, he took a massive step forward in 2022, increasing his caught-stealing percentage and reducing his passed ball rate.
Offensively, though, Wells hit .261 with a .360 OBP, 12 homers, and 43 RBIs with Double-A Somerset last year. He’s expecting to elevate to Triple-A Scranton, meaning he’s getting ever closer to joining the majors.
There was a very real concern that Wells wasn’t good enough defensively to feature as a professional catcher, potentially moving his position before reaching the MLB. However, he’s committed to his development behind home plate and wants to become an All-Star catcher in the future, which would certainly be a luxury for the Yankees.