The 23-year-old is scheduled to be in the Yankees lineup tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays. The left-handed hitting outfielder is slated to bat seventh and play left field against Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez.
McKinney currently ranks as the club’s No. 19 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He was acquired by the Bronx Bombers as part of the trade which sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs.
During spring training with the big league club, McKinney was very impressive. He tied for the team lead in home runs (5) and runs batted in (13).
Due to an logjam of outfielders, the club simply didn’t have room for McKinney on the roster. Now with injuries to both Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury, the door has opened for McKinney to get his chance.
It will be interesting to see how Aaron Boone handles the team’s outfield situation. There is a good possibility that Giancarlo Stanton will see more playing time in left field, while Brett Gardner could shift over to center field. McKinney’s versatility could also play a factor, as he could see a lot of playing time if the team elects to mix-and-match. And don’t forget, McKinney also played some first base this spring, so if the Yankees are in desperate need of 1B help, he could see time there.
Injuries are never a good thing, but the Yankees are fortunate to have a lot of depth in their minor league system. As some key players are currently banged up, guys like Billy McKinney will get their opportunity to shine.