TORONTO – Billy McKinney received a phone call from Kevin Reese, senior director of Yankees player development, on Friday morning and immediately had a thought:
"I was wondering what I did wrong, to be honest. " Yankee said before making his MLB debut in a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays. "He said I would go to Toronto."
McKinney's promotion of Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre came after Aaron Hicks was placed on the list of disabled after just one game with a tense intercostal muscle
His The Way to the Majors was not yet clear the spring training started.
The Yankees already had Hicks, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge, as well as Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier.
But Ellsbury and Frazier landed on the DL when General Manager Brian Cashman needed another outfielder, he turned to McKinney.
Although Cashman knew he had to replace Hicks, the Yankees waited until Friday to notify McKinney of Rogers Center about three hours before Friday's game.
"I was excited to find out that I was playing," McKinney said. [1
"Once I hit it, I was hoping it would slip through," McKinney said of his single.
Then he made two nice running catches in the middle of the sixth.
"I think he thinks he can play here," said coach Aaron Boone. "It's nice to get the first one out of the way and hopefully he can build on it and hopefully take more opportunities."
He was taken on in the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in 2016 and after the final split year between SWB and Double-A Trenton, McKinney went 7-for-42 with the Yankees this spring. Five of these hits were homeruns.
So while the Yankees use the combination of Tyler Austin and Neil Walker to get along without Greg Bird first, they plan to help McKinney bridge the gap in the outfield until Ellsbury arrives – earliest on Thursday.
"If you want to be as good as we hope you will have to endure a few blows here and there," Boone said. "It's a chance for someone else, it's a chance for us as a club."