The Yankees’ search for a center fielder is taking another turn this week.
While Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe duke it out for the starting job at shortstop, Isiah Kiner-Falefa will get a chance to give the outfield a shot. Manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday that Kiner-Falefa would see some time in center this week as New York tries to find someone to fill the hole left by Harrison Bader’s injury.
Bader is out for the next six weeks due to an oblique injury.
Kiner-Falefa has primarily started for the Yankees at shortstop, but the push from Peraza and Volpe for the job has changed the role he needs to play this season. Boone expressed confidence that Kiner-Falefa could handle the opportunity, even though Kiner-Falefa hasn’t played center field since he was in the Texas Rangers farm system.
“I think he could play that role really, really well because of his athleticism,” Boone told reporters, according to MLB.com. “He’s worked in the outfield the last couple of days, and I looked at some video of it the other day, just watching how his feet move and stuff. I think he’d be natural out there — the ability to move around, his speed and athleticism, his bat-to-ball (skills).
The 27-year-old is anticipating the chance to play center field on Friday and started Wednesday’s game at third base.
“Adding center field to my resume a little bit is good — just being able to play there in a pinch if something happens and the team needs me,” he told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com on Wednesday.
Kiner-Falefa’s openness to playing different positions stems from the fact it may be his best chance to stay on the Yankees roster. Boone told reporters this week that Volpe was “in the mix” for the starting job at short and that has put a major question mark on Kiner Falefa.
IKF started 131 games last season at shortstop for the Yankees.
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