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Tyler Austin, Billy McKinney, Ben Heller, Giovanny Gallegos optioned to Triple-A

Prior to their game against the Orioles Wednesday night, the Yankees announced that Tyler Austin, Billy McKinney, Ben Heller and Giovanny Gallegos have all been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

With the offense pretty much set, this move leaves Luis Cessa, Jonathan Holder and Domingo German as the final three pitchers battling for a roster spot.

Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes will be the bench players, along with either Tyler Wade or Neil Walker. Torreyes will be the team’s emergency catcher should Gary Sanchez and/or Romine go down.

“He’s a natural,” Aaron Boone said. “He gives a nice, low target, that Bob Boone target.”

Austin hit .235/.333/.618 with four homers and six RBI in 16 spring games. In 123 Major League at-bats across 2016 and ’17 with the Yanks, the 26-year-old has hit .236 with seven homers and 20 RBI.

McKinney appeared in 18 games this spring, managing just a .161 average. He did, however, launch four homers and drove in 11.

Heller made seven appearances out of the pen, posting a 4.22 ERA across 10.2 innings pitched. The righty appeared in nine games in the Bigs last season, going 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA through 11 innings.

Gallegos also pitched out of the pen this spring, seeing action in eight games. He posted a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 innings. The 26-year-old saw action with the Big League club last season as well. He went 0-1 with a 4.87 ERA in 16 games.

 

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