The Yankees announced that catcher Ben Rortvedt underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee, with the surgery described a “meniscus clean-up.” The surgery took place yesterday, and Rortvedt is expected to return to game activity in 6-8 weeks.
The least-experienced of the five names involved in March’s blockbuster trade between the Yankees and Twins, Rortvedt has yet to make his New York debut, as he has been recovering from an oblique injury suffered during Spring Training. The catcher began a rehab assignment earlier this month, but that assignment was put on hold after Rortvedt’s knee issue surfaced.
Rortvedt made his MLB debut just last season, appearing in 39 games for Minnesota and hitting .169/.229/.281 over 98 plate appearances. Considered primarily as a glove-first type, Rortvedt did show a bit of extra hitting potential with a .254/.324/.426 slash line over 136 Triple-A PA, and he is still only 24 years old.
In the wake of Rortvedt’s oblique injury, the Yankees acquired Jose Trevino from the Rangers as extra catching depth, and the tandem of Trevino and Kyle Higashioka have contributed next to nothing at the plate this season. However, it was clear that the Yankees were focusing on defense from the catcher position, and Trevino/Higashioka have excelled on that front — as per both Fangraphs and Statcast, New York has the best framing numbers of any team in baseball, and Yankee catchers are a cumulative +2 in Defensive Runs Saved. While the Yankees surely wouldn’t mind a bit of extra pop from Trevino, Higashioka, or Rortvedt when he is healthy, the club is surely more than satisfied with this defensive excellence, especially since the rest of the lineup is hitting on all cylinders.