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Former Yankee McKinney returns to majors with two hits, two RBIs as a Blue Jay

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Billy McKinney

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Billy McKinney #28 of the Toronto Blue Jays follows through on a sixth inning single resulting in the three runs against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 18, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images/Jim McIsaac

Billy McKinney has been in four different organizations in six professional seasons, so playing for new teams in different stadiums is hardly novel to him. Still, the 23-year-old had to acknowledge the unusual symmetry between his big-league debut and return to the majors Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

“It’s pretty cool, making my debut in Toronto with New York, and making my Toronto debut here,” said McKinney, who was traded to the Blue Jays from the Yankees in the J.A. Happ deal on July 26. He led off and played leftfield in Toronto’s 11-6 loss to the Yankees, going 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.

McKinney appeared in his first two big-league games for the Yankees in March before injuring himself while crashing into a wall at Rogers Center. He returned to the minors in May and was promoted to the majors on Friday.

“It was a great experience, especially getting to play against some old teammates,” he said.

McKinney lined a single to rightfield with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning for his first two big-league RBIs, and when the ball got past Neil Walker, a third run scored. McKinney was thrown out at third on the play when he overslid the base.

“He battles at the plate and it looks like he has a pretty good eye,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Gibbons said he could look past the baserunning miscues — McKinney was picked off first in the third — and chalked them up to being overly eager. “He’s excited,’’ he said. “He just had that look. So we’ll excuse [him].”

Oakland took McKinney in the first round of the 2013 draft before dealing him to Chicago the following July. Two years later, the Yankees acquired him in the Aroldis Chapman trade.

“I’ve been through the ups and downs,” McKinney said. “Sometimes things just don’t work out for you the way you want them to work out . . . You learn how to deal with that process.”

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