MLB Vet Gonzalez Makes RailRiders Opening Day Roster

March 29, 2019

After joining the Yankees late in spring training, longtime big leaguer Gio Gonzalez will open the season with the RailRiders.

Gonzalez, who hasn’t pitched at Triple-A since 2009, joins a RailRiders rotation that includes Chance Adams, Nestor Cortes Jr., David Hale and Drew Hutchison, the Yankees’ player development staff announced Friday afternoon.

Outfielder Clint Frazier, infielders Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada and catcher Kyle Higashioka, all members of New York’s 40-man roster, headline the offense. 2018 RailRiders first baseman Mike Ford and Ryan McBroom, third baseman Gio Urshela and Zack Zehner are all back.

Veteran catcher Ryan Lavarnway and outfielders Billy Burns and Matt Lipka, who all joined the organization on minor league deals this offseason, will be with SWB. Infielder Gosuke Katoh has yet to play at Triple-A.

Joe Harvey, a 40-man roster member, and Raynel Espinal are back to anchor the bullpen. They’ll be joined by J.P. Feyereisen, Cale Coshow, Adonis Rosa and David Sosebee, who have all pitched for SWB in the past, and veterans Rex Brothers and Danny Coulombe.

Gonzalez signed a minor league deal with New York on March 20 and managed to appear in one game before big league spring training ended. He allowed five runs, four earned, in two innings.

Gonzalez split 2018 with the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers, going 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA. In five games with Milwaukee, he was 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA, then pitched twice in the postseason.

The 33-year-old southpaw made his major league debut Aug. 6, 2008, with the Oakland Athetics and is 127-97 with a 3.69 ERA in his career. He made two rehab starts in the Nationals minor leagues in 2014, but otherwise hasn’t spent time in the minors since 2009, when he started 12 games for Sacramento, Oakland’s Triple-A team.

Gonzalez reportedly can opt out of his contract April 20.

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RailRiders Opening Day roster

Pitchers (13): Chance Adams, Rex Brothers, Nestor Cortes Jr., Cale Coshow, Danny Coulombe, Raynel Espinal, J.P. Feyereisen, Gio Gonzalez, David Hale, Joe Harvey, Drew Hutchison, Adonis Rosa, David Sosebee

Catchers (2): Kyle Higashioka, Ryan Lavarnway

Infielders (6): Thairo Estrada, Mike Ford, Gosuke Katoh, Ryan McBroom, Gio Urshela, Tyler Wade

Outfielders (4): Billy Burns, Clint Frazier, Matt Lipka, Zack Zehner