The Yankees have released left-hander Luis Avilan in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for infielder Jordy Mercer, whose contract has been selected from the alternate training site, manager Aaron Boone told reporters at today’s media session (Twitter link via ESPN’s Marly Rivera). The club hopes to re-sign Avilan but felt the move was the best course of action amid a roster crunch.
Avilan, 31, just landed on the IL earlier this week due to inflammation in his left shoulder. He’d been quite effective for the Yanks before coughing up two runs in one-third of an inning in his final appearance prior to going on the IL. Overall, Avilan has a 4.32 ERA with nine strikeouts and five walks in 8 1/3 frames.
The addition of Mercer was necessitated in large part by injuries to both DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres. Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade are starting up the middle for the Yankees right now, but Mercer could factor into the middle-infield mix while the club’s regulars mend on the IL. LeMahieu, in particular, could return this weekend, Boone said today.
Mercer, 34, spent six seasons as the Pirates’ primary shortstop from 2013-18, hitting .257/.317/.383 in 779 games along the way. He spent the 2019 season in Detroit, and while he struggled immensely early before going on the injured list for much of the year, Mercer returned to close out the season with a torrid .312/.343/.512 slash in his final 48 games. He returned to the Tigers in 2020 but was cut loose early in the year when they opted to give younger talent a look as their rebuild progresses. Mercer latched on with New York shortly thereafter and will now head back to the big leagues to provide some infield depth for an ailing Yankees club.