ANAHEIM, Calif. — With an already depleted outfield taking yet another hit Wednesday with the addition of Clint Frazier to the injured list, the Yankees traded for some much-needed help Thursday, acquiring Cameron Maybin from the Indians for cash considerations.
Indeed, the Yankees, who returned Gary Sanchez from the IL before Wednesday’s 6-5 victory, couldn’t keep their number on the list below 13.
Maybin, 32, who was hitting .216 with a .663 OPS for the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus affiliate, immediately was put on the 25-man roster. He was not in the starting lineup Thursday night — he landed at Los Angeles International Airport as rush hour was getting underway — but was expected to be available during the game.
Luis Severino, on the injured list since the start of the season with right rotator cuff inflammation and a lat strain, was transferred to the 60-day IL to make room on the 40-man roster for Maybin.
“He’s not the answer,” one opposing team talent evaluator said of Maybin. “But he’s what’s available this time of year. And he’ll catch the ball.”
Such is the bar for the Yankees, who have outfielders Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Frazier on the IL and are down to Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman and utilityman Tyler Wade, a natural infielder. They are, without saying it outright, in desperation mode.
Maybin, who has logged 12 seasons in the big leagues, has played all three outfield positions.
“We need an outfielder,” Aaron Boone said before Thursday night’s game, in which his team tried for its first four-game sweep in Anaheim since July 21-24, 1994. “We have three outfielders, including Tyler, right now, so we need a fourth outfielder.”
Boone said rookie infield prospect Thairo Estrada, called up Sunday, will start to get some pregame work in the outfield with first-base coach Reggie Willits, who also coaches the outfielders.
“Just to have that potential flexibility,” Boone said. “With Clint going down, we needed another outfielder.”
Boone said the righthanded-hitting Maybin will be “part of the mix” in the outfield, definitely starting against lefthanders. That means he’ll be in the lineup Friday night against Giants lefthander Madison Bumgarner and again Saturday when San Francisco throws lefthander Derek Holland.
“We’ll just kind of roll with it day to day,” Boone said. “But he’s going to play.”
Maybin has a career slash line of .254/.322/.368 with 60 homers, 148 doubles, 33 triples and 315 RBIs. In his second career game, he picked up his first hit and then his first home run against the Yankees’ Roger Clemens on Aug. 18, 2007. He was chosen 10th overall by the Tigers in the 2005 draft.
“He’s a guy with a track record that can play the positions,” Boone said. “Obviously in our situation right now, that was something that attracted us.”
As for Frazier, he landed on the IL with the left ankle sprain he suffered Monday while scrambling back to second base in the 12th inning of an eventual 14-inning victory. He has been a savior of sorts as the injuries mounted and was hitting .324 with a .975 OPS, six homers and 17 RBIs when he got hurt.
“It’s been certainly tough on many fronts,” Boone said, speaking generally of the injuries. “Any time you see your guys go down, guys that mean so much to the team, you feel for them, you feel for the team. But it’s also been a lot of fun and really exciting to see different guys within our organization and not be fazed by anything. It’s been cool to see so many different people night in and night out contribute to the cause.”