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Yankees Knew About Ben Rortvedt’s Injury Prior to Twins Trade

The catcher could start the season on the injured list.

The Yankees were aware of Ben Rortvedt’s oblique injury prior to acquiring the catcher from the Twins.

“He had it coming in,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Monday. “We were aware that he had a very light oblique strain that was resolving, and it's still resolving. He didn't reinjure it in camp, but he did have it.”

With Opening Day on April 7, Cashman didn’t rule out the possibility of Rortvedt beginning the season on the injured list. Acquired alongside Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the swap that sent Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela to Minnesota, Rordvedt first joined New York on March 13.

He already had limited time to learn a new pitching staff after MLB’s lockout shortened spring training. Now Rortvedt’s injury serves as another obstacle.

“I mean, it's an oblique strain. It's gonna take time,” Cashman said. “So is there enough time to get it out of the way before Opening Day, which means also getting him prepared properly? I don't know yet.”

READ: Yankees' Catching Coordinator Explains What Makes Ben Rortvedt So 'Dynamic' Behind Plate

With Sánchez gone, the plan was for Rortvedt and Kyle Higashioka to form a defensively sound tandem behind home plate. However, there is now a chance that Rortvedt won’t start the season with New York. Cashman mentioned non-roster invitees Rob Brantly and Max McDowell as possible internal replacements. Rodolfo Durán and David Freitas are two other catchers in camp.

Brantly appeared in six games for the Yankees last season.

“We don't have to make that backup decision yet. If we're forced to, then we’ll currently go from within,” Cashman said. “But we'll see. It's too early to make that call.”


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