The Yankees have announced that they’ve signed veteran infielder Cliff Pennington to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The deal was first reported by Pinstriped Prospects.
Pennington, 34, was with the Athletics in Spring Training and traveled with them to Tokyo as a non-roster player, but Oakland cut him loose at the end of March. Pennington split the 2018 season between the Reds and Rangers organizations, appearing in 16 games with Cincinnati and tallying 34 plate appearances. The rest of his season was spent between the two clubs’ top minor league affiliates. Prior to that, Pennington had been playing with the Angels on a two-year contract, primarily serving as a utility infielder.
That utility role is one that Pennington has settled into over the course of an 11-year big league career. He’s shown plenty of versatility, with nearly 5000 innings at shortstop, 1600 innings at second base, 350 at third base and some brief work in the corner outfield. In that time, he’s drawn excellent reviews for his glovework at second base and solid marks for his defense at shortstop. A switch-hitter, Pennington is a lifetime .242/.309/.339 hitter in 3142 trips to the plate.
The veteran Pennington will provide the injury-plagued Yankees with some depth all over the diamond. New York opened the season without shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and has since seen both Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki land on the injured list. The former of those two injury situations is particularly troubling, as Andujar has been diagnosed with a small tear in the labrum of his right shoulder. While Andujar is currently opting for physical therapy and rehab, the possibility of surgery looms.