TAMPA — Tim Locastro was just nine games into his Yankees career last summer when Alex Verdugo hit a flyball to left field that would end the outfielder’s season.
Locastro managed to jump into the wall at Yankee Stadium in Foul Territory but awkwardly hit his right knee, with tests later showing he had torn his cruciate ligament.
Eight and a half months later, Locastro feels “100 per cent” as he tries to defend his return to the Bronx as part of the club’s opening day squad. Depending on whether the Yankees have a three-man or four-man bench, Locastro has a chance to break camp with the team as a true backup outfielder and number one speed threat.
“Coming back here and trying to get some rest, that’s very exciting,” Locastro, who signed a major-league contract to return to the Yankees shortly after lockdown ended, said Friday at Steinbrenner Field.
Though manager Aaron Boone said the Yankees could potentially add 16 pitchers to their 28-man roster to make up for reduced spring training, he would “love” a four-man bench. If that’s the case, it would make sense to add a backup outfielder to support an incipient outfield of Joey Gallo, Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge, with Giancarlo Stanton also set to play on the field a few times a week.
Marwin Gonzalez, who is expected to build the team as a super utilityman, can also play the outfield corners, but the Yankees could use some insurance in midfield behind Hicks, the occasional Judge and even Gallo, who started there against the Tigers on Friday use .
Former Gold Glove winner Ender Inciarte is also battling for the team’s lineup at camp, but Locastro could have the upper hand as he’s already on the 40-man list.
“I have a feeling both guys could play that role,” Boone said. “We will see.”
For the 29-year-old Locastro, who grew up as a die-hard Yankees fan in Auburn State, joining the 28-man roster would be particularly meaningful given that he returned to rehab last July after undergoing surgery.
So far in spring training, Locastro has ticked some boxes he wanted, both physically and mentally: He stole three bases, made some catches against the wall, and finished first through third with a single. He believes he’s fully recovered from the knee injury, and the Yankees could certainly use his old pace — last season his average sprint speed was 30.7 feet per second, according to Baseball Savant, making Trea Turner the best in the MLB .
“I would not only be happy for myself, but also for my family and my fans that they can also experience it with me,” said Locastro. “They were my support system throughout the injury, physically and mentally. If they saw that, that would be great.”
– Additional reporting by Dan Martin in Lakeland, Florida.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/02/yankees-tim-locastro-is-healthy-and-making-case-for-outfield-job/ Yankees’ Tim Locastro is healthy and pleading for a field job