Rortvedt injury a knock to Yanks' catching depth

March 19th, 2022

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ben Rortvedt is expected to share catching duties with Kyle Higashioka this season, but an oblique injury could put the 24-year-old’s spot on the Opening Day roster in jeopardy.

Manager Aaron Boone said Rortvedt -- who was acquired from the Twins in the same trade that landed Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in pinstripes last weekend -- had been dealing with the Grade 1 strain for “a few weeks.”

“I don't think it should be too long-term of a thing,” Boone said. “I think he’s kind of feeling it when he's hitting, so we want to kind of back him off a little bit, try and nip that in the bud and not allow that to become a long-term issue for him.

“Hopefully it's something that doesn't derail too much. We do want to make sure we get it out of there.”

Rortvedt is still doing catching and throwing work, but he won’t swing a bat for the next five days. Boone acknowledged some concern about the catcher’s readiness for the April 7 season opener, but the team should have a better idea of his status later this week.

“We’ve got to see how these next few days are when he's allowed to start swinging again in a progression,” Boone said. “Sure, I'm concerned about it. Two and a half-plus weeks left, so the timeline’s not great there. First things first is hopefully in these next few days we can start ramping him up at some point.”

Should Rortvedt miss the start of the season, Rob Brantly would be the likely candidate to open the year as Higashioka’s understudy.