The Yankees acquired infielder Gregorio Petit from the Houston Astros on Wednesday for cash considerations. Brian Cashman was forced to do this because Brendan Ryan, who was supposed to be the back-up middle infielder going into the regular season, strained his right calf during Wednesday’s spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays. This injury will lead to the light hitting infielder beginning the season on the disabled list.
Rob Refsnyder, who had six errors during spring training, proved that he is not ready yet to play second base at the major-league level. He is definitely a prospect who could help the Yankees at some point this season or in 2016 based on his .357 average and six RBIs in 42 at-bats during spring training, in addition to the .318 average, 14 homers, 63 RBIs and nine steals he had in 60 games at Double-A Trenton and 77 games at Triple-A Scranton last season. However, he has only played second base for the last two seasons, so it makes sense that he needs more improvement defensively.
Petit, who batted .278 with two homers and nine RBIs in 37 games with the Astros last season, is known as a plus defender and can play shortstop, second and third. He hit .297 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 85 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City before being called up to the Astros. He played on the Oakland Athletics in 2008 (14 games) and 2009 (11 games) and is a career .278 hitter.
Petit proved that he has some power by hitting 10 homers in at Triple-A, and is an upgrade over Ryan offensively and an upgrade over Refsnyder defensively. His addition makes sense because he can reliably fill-in at multiple positions and will hit for a solid average. He is a solid stop gap until Ryan is healthy and gives the team options.
Petit, who has played in 16 games at second base in his career, could also be a double play combo with Didi Gregorius, which means that there could be a Gregorius to Gregorio start of a double play.