Billy McKinney. (Photo: Reuters)

The New York Yankees lived up to the hype set in the offseason on Opening Day, breezing past the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 behind two home runs from debutant Giancarlo Stanton. 

 

But the first win of the Aaron Boone regime came with a bit of bad news. 

 

The Yankees placed starting center fielder Aaron Hicks on the 10-day disabled list due to an intercostal muscle strain despite not showing any kind of discomfort while going 2-for-4 against the Jays. Usually, this would have opened the door for Clint Frazier to step in as the team's starting center fielder, but the 23-year-old is recovering from a concussion picked up during spring training.

 

It's forced the Yankees to call up Billy McKinney from triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre to add some depth to the position. He will likely back up Brett Gardner, the team's usual left fielder, in center while Giancarlo Stanton would move to left field instead of inhabiting the designated hitter spot. Aaron Judge will remain in right field. 

 

McKinney had an extended look in spring training this year, appearing in 22 games. At first glance, he didn't do much to impress as he recorded just seven hits in 42 at-bats for a .167 average. But his .340 on-base percentage fueled by 10 walks shows his ability to be patient at the plate. 

 

He showed that aspect of his game off last year in triple-A as he slashed .306/.336 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI in 52 games.

Entering this season, McKinney was ranked the 20th-best prospect in the Yankees' farm system by MLB Pipeline. He has a quick bat that isn't expected to possess a ton of power at the MLB level and considering the depth a healthy Yankees outfield will have this year, the 23-year-old will likely be nothing more than a utility outfielder if he is able to stay up in the big show.