Good morning Fackers. The Yankees filled the final opening on their 40 man roster yesterday, claiming Chad Huffman from the San Diego Padres, who had been DFA'd to make room for Matt Stairs.
Huffman is a soon-to-be 25 year old outfielder with four years of professional experience. He was San Diego's second round selection in the 2006 draft and rose to AAA for the first time last year. In 135 games at Portland, Huffman hit .269/.361/.469 with 20 HR. He's a career .289/.385/.474 hitter and has spent minimal time at first base in addition to the outfield corners.
Longtime San Diego GM Kevin Towers, now working as a special assignment scout for the Yankees, likely had a large say in making the claim. I'm sure Towers knows Huffman well, but I can't help but be a little a curious about the claim.
Despite being a right handed hitter, Huffman does not fair well against lefties, posting just a a .191/.308/.331 line against them last year according to minorleaguesplits.com. As such, he's not exactly a solid insurance policy should the Yankees decide to part ways with Marcus Thames. Further, his batting line last year, while impressive, is buoyed by the hitting friendly Pacific Coast League, and carries a Major League Equivalent of just .236/.310/.392 with 16 HR.
Huffman's presence also adds to the considerable log jam at Scranton. Jesus Montero will see the lion's share of playing time behind the plate, and may also DH on his days off. He's backed up by Chad Moeller, but P.J. Pilittere and Robby Hammock are also on the catching depth chart. Pilittere can also play first; Hammock can play both the infield and outfield corners.
In the infield, Kevin Russo, Reegie Corona, and Eduardo Nunez figure to rotate through second base, third base, and shortstop. Juan Miranda will man first, but Jorge Vazquez will see time at both infield corners and DH once he comes off the DL.
In the outfield, Huffman joins Jon Weber, David Winfree, and Colin Curtis as corner outfield options. Fellow 40 man roster member Greg Golson will be the center fielder. Outfielder Reid Gorecki is not listed any of the affiliates' rosters, but as of yet there has been no news of his release.
Scranton's season starts tonight against Buffalo, the Mets' affiliate. The official roster should be released at some point later today. Perhaps that, and these first few games will offer some insight as to how the line ups and playing time will shake out.