The Yankees have added C Kyle Higashioka and RHP Domingo German to the 40-man roster, the team announced Friday.
They also reinstated INF Dustin Ackley and RHPs Nathan Eovaldi, Chad Green, Branden Pinder, and Nick Rumbelow from the 60-day disabled list.
Higashioka, 26, hit.276 with a .337 OBP and .511 SLG with 21 HR and 81 RBI between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this past season.
German, 24, had a 3.08 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while allowing 41 hits and striking out 38 in 49 2/3 innings (10 starts) between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa this past season.
Of the players reinstated from the 60-man DL, Eovaldi and Ackley are almost certain non-tender candidates for the Yankees. In my view, Pinder and Rumbelow are also in danger of losing roster spots after seeing them at various points the last two seasons. There is a big roster crunch coming for the Yankees, which will require more than the two spots that Eovaldi and Ackley will vacate.
The Yankees will need to determine the fate of several minor leaguers who are eligible to be selected in December's Rule 5 draft, including top organization prospects Jorge Mateo (No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Yankees' Top-30), Miguel Andujar (No. 7) and Dietrich Enns (No. 24).
Higashioka had a breakout season in 2016, hitting a combined .276 with a .339 OBP and .511 SLG. Higashioka smacked 24 doubles, 21 home runs and drove in 81 runs in 370 at-bats between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Protecting Higashioka makes sense because the Yankees have a decision to make with both Brian McCann (potential trade asset) and Austin Romine (arbitration eligible) slotting behind Gary Sanchez on the depth chart.
German, who was part of the deal that brought Eovaldi to the Yankees from the Miami Marlins, is bit of a surprise addition. A right-handed starter, he pitched well this past season between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa. He missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.