New York Daily News

Texas castoff Rougned eyes fresh start

- BY KRISTIE ACKERT

The Yankees acquired Rougned Odor in the hopes that they will be able to get the 27-year old lefty-hitting second baseman to reach his potential. “An opportunit­y to add a talented guy to just add some depth and strength to our roster,” Aaron Boone said of the deal. “Obviously you’re going to need to lean on (that depth) throughout the course of a long season. Hopefully he can get here and hopefully we can help him get that talent out that we’ve seen flashed over the years.

“He’s a guy that played some third base this spring, I know, or quite a bit of third. So, view him as a guy that can maybe move around a little bit, but we’ll see,” Boone said.

Odor made headlines in 2016 when he punched Jose Bautista squarely in the jaw after a play at second base. He has long tried to distance himself from the moment.

Maybe the change of scenery will help Odor. In 2020, he hit .167 and scored 15 runs, with four doubles, 10 home runs and 30 RBI in 38 games with the Rangers. He has hit .237 with 146 doubles, 26 triples, 146 home runs and 458 RBI in 858 games over parts of seven Major League seasons, all with Texas.

Odor, who played 13 of 15 games this spring at third base, was designated for assignment by the Rangers before Opening Day.

“The talent is there, we feel like it’s undeniable,” Boone said. “He has the ability to really impact the ball. Obviously from the left side at Yankee Stadium we feel like that could play up. And hopefully just getting him in our environmen­t, our culture, hopefully will unlock some things for him. We’ll see, but first things first, we got to see where he’s at physically as far as what he’s been doing, where he’s at and he’s kind of getting built up obviously because he was DFA-ed.”

Boone said he expects Odor to join the club when he’s cleared the COVID-19 in-take protocols. The Bombers dealt a pair of minor leaguers, outfielder­s Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers, for Odor. To make room on the 40-man roster, they designated infielder Thairo Estrada and they also optioned Michael King on the 26-man roster.

Odor has two years and $27 million remaining on his contract, with Texas expected to pick up much of it.

TOGETHER AGAIN

After one start working with Gary Sanchez, Boone reunited Gerrit Cole with his personal catcher Kyle Higashioka on Tuesday.

“I wanted to get Higgy in at least once in this five-day stretch here,” Boone said. “This lined up with Gary having played four out of five and three in a row. And Kyle and Gerrit work well together. It just seemed like this was a good day to do that.”

The Yankees’ ace went 5-1 with a 1.79 ERA and a .165 batting average against in seven starts with Higashioka behind the plate last season. In his first eight starts of 2020,

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