FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tyler Wade didn’t disguise his feelings when told by Aaron Boone on Sunday morning that he wasn’t making the Yankees’ 25-man roster.
“Very disappointing. It blindsided me,’’ said Wade, who lost out to outfielder Mike Tauchman, who was acquired from the Rockies on Saturday for lefty reliever Phillip Diehl. “I did everything they asked me to do this spring and I played well and now my defense isn’t good enough.’’
Drafted as an infielder, Wade is athletic enough to play the outfield and when Aaron Hicks went down early in the exhibition schedule it opened a roster spot for Wade as the fourth outfielder and backup infielder. He was sure enough of making the team that he didn’t want to push a hip situation earlier in the week so not to endanger him being able to help the Yankees on Opening Day.
Now, he starts the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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“I did everything I possibly could do to show I belong in the big leagues,’’ said Wade who went 1-for-3 in Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Twins at CenturyLink Sports Complex and is hitting .320 (16-for-50) with a .358 on-base percentage in 19 games. “I know I can play the outfield.’’
Wade has played 14 big-league games in the outfield, one in center. He has appeared in 36 minor league games in the outfield, 12 in center.
Prior to the game, Boone said he expected Wade to help the varsity at some point but that didn’t mollify the 24-year-old.
“I don’t think anything can make me feel better right now to be honest,’’ Wade said.
Boone said he never told Wade the reason he was sent out was related to his outfield play. In fact, the manager believed Wade played well wherever he was put.
“We really like his defense, all-around, more so now than ever,’’ Boone said. “I always envisioned him as the guy who can play everywhere, the unique guy who can play the middle of the diamond and also play the three outfield spots. I don’t have many reservations at all about that. He has only continued to grow in my eyes in his defensive versatility.’’
Boone said he didn’t know if Tauchman was a better defender than Wade, but explained that without center fielder Hicks, the newest acquisition was a better fit.
“As I told Tyler, I could see a situation where we get healthier he becomes more of a realistic option because of his versatility, but no issues with his defense,’’ Boone said.
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