Russell: Gio Urshela Is Proving Invaluable In The Bronx

Gio Urshela is batting .347 and his latest hit put the Yankees in first place after lining one to right-center on Friday night against the Rays.

This is the Gio Urshela who hit .225 in two seasons with the Indians and .233 in 19 games with the Blue Jays.

“I think he’s confident as a player right now,” Aaron Boone said on Saturday morning. “Guys blossom and bloom and come into their own at different times and I think he came into spring training this year just confident in where he was with his swing and the evolution of him as a hitter. So I think he’s really confident in what he’s doing.”

He did hit .307 in 27 games in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Boone liked what he saw from Urshela in spring training.

Boone noted Urshela’s “excellent plan” at the plate as of late.

Boone hadn’t seen him before this spring.

“I was a blank slate in looking at him,” he said. “And right away I just liked his swing. I liked his approach, I liked his ability to drive the ball the other way. And right away we were seeing good at-bats game in and game out no matter what situation we put him in.”

Urshela wasn’t on the Opening Day roster but came up on April 6 as the Yankees injury list became Mets-like. Miguel Andujar, who hit 27 home runs last season, is gone for the rest of the season.

If the Yankees were fortune tellers and knew Andujar would play in 12 games in 2019, perhaps they would’ve signed Manny Machado. But they’re not, they didn’t and Urshela has a chance to stay.

He is out of options, meaning Urshela couldn’t be sent down without being exposed to waivers. Through injury and circumstance, Urshela looks like he will be here for some time.

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