After the 5-4 loss by the Yankees in 11 innings to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon, they optioned second baseman Jose Pirela to the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders. The 25-year-old had played in 18 games this season (43 at-bats) and hit .256 with his first career home run, one RBI and two doubles.
Pirela had his best game of his career when he got the start on Sunday, May 7. He helped the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 6-2, during that game as he was 2-3 with two runs scored, a double and a 418-foot homer in what was his first home run of his career.
However, it was determined that since Brendan Ryan replaced Ramon Flores when he came off the disabled list, Pirela was not needed on the 25-man roster anymore. Pirela is just an average defender and had struggled offensively before Sunday’s game.
Ryan will be able to be much better defensively than Pirela, and he could be similar to Pirela offensively as he was 2-3 with a triple and an RBI in his first game back. He has struggled on offense the last two seasons as he hit .197 in 2013 and .167 in 114 at-bats last season, but he can be an asset if he can hit about .250-.255 since he is very reliable on the defensive side.
On Thursday, the Yankees called up Mason Williams to give them a back-up outfielder that they were missing with Jacoby Ellsbury still on the disabled list and Flores back in Triple-A. Williams was the team’s No. 1 prospect as recently as 2013.
Williams, who is 23-year-old left-handed hitter, hit a low 236/.298/.319 from 2013-2014 mostly at Double-A Trenton. He reportedly came into spring training with a much better attitude this year and has hit 318/.397/.398 with 22 RBIs, 26 runs scored and 13 steals. He impressively has more walks (8) than strikeouts (6) this season.
He has played in 34 games at Double-A Trenton and 20 games at Triple-A Scranton this season. In 53 games played in the outfield this season, has made one error, has two outfield assists and has a .992 fielding percentage. Williams is known for his defense in center field and uses his speed to cover a lot of ground. Williams will allow Brett Gardner to move back to left field more while Ellsbury is on the DL.
The Yankees intend on giving Williams, who is from Pawtucket, RI and went to high school at West Orange High in Florida, a serious look in the lineup while Ellsbury is on the disabled list. According to GM Brian Cashman, Williams will play centerfield against righthanders. The Yankees will have two players capable of covering a lot of ground who are natural center fielders with Williams and Gardner, which is just like what they have when Ellsbury is in the lineup.
The Yankees also called up Chris Martin on Thursday. Martin, who has a 3.55 ERA and has been on the DL since May 9 with tendinitis in his right elbow, will occupy the spot in the bullpen that was available with Andrew Miller on the disabled list. The Yankees signed Martin in the offseason after he was waived by the Colorado Rockies, and he started the season pitching very well. He had a 2.38 ERA after his first 13 appearances, but his ERA rose to 3.86 after allowing two runs in his 14th game.
Martin, who throws a four-seam fastball (95mph), cutter (90mph and slider (82mph), will be another option for the eighth inning that is more of an unknown now that Dellin Betances will be the closer. Other options for the eighth inning include Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson. They will have to be reliable with the lead in the eighth so that Betances will be able to convert saves in the ninth.