LAKELAND, Fla. — Kyle Higashioka hasn’t been informed he’s the starting catcher.
With Gary Sanchez now in Minnesota and certain backup Ben Rortvedt nonetheless rehabbing a strained indirect, the writing is on the wall.
And to get rid of additional doubt, Higashioka retains hitting residence runs.
He went deep for a fifth time this spring within the Yankees 6-2 win over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday, this one to the other area.
“Having a lot of success early and hitting the ball hard is good to see,’’ Higashioka said. “Continuing it through the [regular] season is key. This is a good confidence boost.”
Asked about getting common at-bats this season in what figures to be a brand new position — barring a commerce for an additional backstop — Higashioka mentioned, “I don’t want to assume stuff. … If it comes down to where I get a lot more regular at-bats, I’ll be glad to have those and will work hard to achieve that.”
Whatever manufacturing they get out of Higashioka — and Rortvedt — will come as one thing of a bonus to the Yankees, who’ve opted for protection over offense this yr.
Rortvedt is working his approach again from a strained indirect that has saved him from hitting this spring.
Higashioka caught Jordan Montgomery’s simulated sport at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Friday, however time is operating brief for the catcher acquired within the commerce with Minnesota that additionally included Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to be prepared for Opening Day on April 7.
Aaron Boone mentioned Friday that Rortvedt is unlikely to get into any Grapefruit League video games.
“He’s going to wish some video games and I doubt they are going to be right here [during spring training],’’ Boone mentioned.
That leaves a listing of Rob Brantly, David Freitas and Max McDowell as potential candidates to again up Higashioka behind the plate to open the season.
“I would say we’d consider all of them right there in the mix,” Boone mentioned.
Brantly is the one one of many three that, like Rortvedt, bats left-handed.
“That’s something that Rob brings to the table,’’ Boone said. “I guess that’s a factor.”
Luis Severino and the Yankees will discover out simply how prepared the right-hander is for the common season when he begins Saturday towards the Braves at Steinbrenner Field after being pushed again due to a sore arm.
A day after taking part in catch, Severino mentioned he felt “pretty good, pretty normal. Ready for the start [Saturday].”
He complained of soreness all through his arm the day after his earlier outing, when Severino’s velocity was fantastic, however his command was off.
He’s hoping for no extra setbacks after pitching simply 19 ⅓ innings over the earlier three seasons on account of Tommy John surgical procedure and different accidents to his rotator cuff and groin.
“I’ve been battling with this for a couple years,’’ Severino said. “I know I’m going to have some ups and downs, so it’s good to know how to treat it so when it happens again, I’ll be able to do it.”
The Yankees reassigned right-handers Matt Bowman and Ryan Weber, infielders Phillip Evans, Jose Peraza and Ronald Guzman and outfielder Ryan LaMarre to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce in Tampa