A team source just confirmed a report from Donnie Collins that Zelous Wheeler has in fact been promoted and will join the Yankees tomorrow in Minnesota.
Not word yet on the corresponding move. My guess would be Yangervis Solarte optioned to Triple-A, but I’m not sure.
The Yankees will have to make a 40-man move to add Wheeler. Again, just speculating, but I suppose they could DFA Scott Sizemore. Not that Sizemore hasn’t played well — he’s hit lefties in Triple-A, which is exactly what he’s supposed to do — but if Wheeler has basically surpassed him for a big league call-up, Sizemore could be the one to go. The Yankees could also keep Solarte and DFA struggling outfielder Alfonso Soriano, but that just doesn’t seem likely to me.
Whatever the corresponding move, the Yankees will have now carried Solarte, Wheeler, Sizemore and Dean Anna as infielders at various points before the All-Star break. Who would have guessed that on the first day of spring training?
I’m guessing Eduardo Nunez would not have.
Wheeler joined the Yankees as a minor league free agent this offseason, made a bit of a name for himself in big league camp, and he’s continued to hit in Triple-A. Wheeler has a .299/.367/.467 slash line while spending time at second, third, shortstop and right field with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had an .861 OPS in the month of June.
Why Wheeler over Jose Pirela? Again, I don’t know, but I would point out that Wheeler is hitting .348/.400/.522 against lefties while Pirela actually has reverse splits this season and is hitting just .277/.333/.373 against lefties. If most of this playing time is going to come against left-handers, Wheeler’s actually done significantly more this season (against righties, Wheeler has an .800 OPS while Pirela has an .856).
Associated Press photo