Yankees fans won’t have Chris Carter to kick around anymore.
The veteran first baseman, who reached Kyle Farnsworth levels of dislike among those rooting for the pinstripes as his struggles mounted this season, was designated for assignment in the early hours Saturday morning.
Tyler Austin, coming off a fractured left foot that cost him the early part of the season, was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he was hitting .300/.366/.560 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 27 games.
Austin, who had a memorable big-league debut last August, homering in his first career plate appearance, had a less memorable day Saturday, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a double-play ball and nearly suffering a wrist injury while fielding a throw in the fifth inning.
Carter, who hit 41 homers last season for the Brewers, had a .204/.286/.383 slash line, eight homers and 23 RBIs in 57 games.
“We just felt it was time,” Joe Girardi said. “I really believe Chris gave us everything he had and worked hard and tried to make adjustments. He just never seemed to get on track . . . He is very well-liked in the clubhouse, but we felt Tyler had started to swing the bat pretty well and that it was time to give him an opportunity.”
The Yankees made the announcement shortly after their walk-off 2-1 victory in 10 innings over the Rangers, a game in which Carter went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Might Carter have saved his job with a timely hit or two Friday?
“I’m not sure what happens,” Girardi said. “But it had been in discussion [for several days].”
Austin entered spring training with a chance to win a utility job but fractured his foot in mid-February when he fouled a ball off it while taking batting practice.
Austin, who went 2-for-4 with a double in his final game with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, hit relatively well in the minors but did have 32 strikeouts in 100 at-bats.
“You can tell he’s still shaking the rust off,” said one opposing team scout who covers the Yankees’ system and has seen Austin recently. “Average in the field. You’d like to see better plate discipline.”
Said Austin: “Defensively, I felt really good. At the plate, it took a little bit of time for me to get some consistency back, but for the most part, I’ve been feeling pretty good.”
Austin said it took him a little while, though not too long, to put aside the disappointment of the spring training injury.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “Going through the injury right before spring training was a tough pill to swallow, but it’s just one more thing I had to overcome, and I’m happy to be back.”
Greg Bird had a cortisone shot in his right ankle Monday, and although he stepped up the intensity of his work in the weight room Saturday morning, he has yet to progress to baseball activities. “Still sore from the shot,” he said. “When that goes away, I’ll do more.”
Rehab games for Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury (concussion) was slated to begin a rehab assignment with Scranton on Saturday night, batting second and starting in centerfield. The plan is for him to DH on Sunday and then, with Scranton on the road, play with Double-A Trenton starting on Monday.
The Yankees signed their first two picks from this month’s draft, agreeing to terms with righthanders Clarke Schmidt, taken 16th overall, and Matt Sauer, the club’s second-round pick. The Yankees have signed 22 of the 40 players taken in the draft.