Spring Training 2024:Yankees cut Jeter Downs, likely ending his time in New York before it started

FILE - In this April 2, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees batting helmets sit in the dugout before a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Miami. Major League Baseball revamped its spring training exhibition schedule because of the pandemic, cutting travel for Florida-based teams in an effort to avoid the novel coronavirus, the league announced Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Jeter Downs’ career with the New York Yankees could end before it started.

Downs was designated for assignment Friday, one month after the Yankees claimed the 25-year-old shortstop off waivers from the Washington Nationals. The Yankees needed the roster spot after claiming infielder/outfielder Diego Castillo off waivers from the New York Mets.

Downs, the 32nd overall pick by Cincinnati in the 2017 amateur draft, is named after former Yankees captain Derek Jeter.

The Yankees have seven days to trade Downs or place him on waivers.

New York also finalized a one-year contract with right-hander Luke Weaver, who was claimed by the Yankees off waivers from Seattle on Sept. 12, made three starts and became a free agent. Weaver, 30, was the 27th overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft and is 27-42 with a 5.14 ERA in eight major league seasons with St. Louis (2016-18), Arizona (2019-22), Kansas City (2022), Cincinnati (2023), Seattle (2023) and Yankees (2023),

Outfielder Bubba Thompson was designated for assignment to open a roster spot for Weaver.

Downs was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Boston Red Sox as part of a package for Mookie Betts in 2020. He made his big league debut with Boston in 2022 and hit .154 (6 for 39) with one homer and four RBIs. He was claimed by the Nationals off waivers last Dec. 22 and was 2 for 5 this year with one RBI and two stolen bases. He hit .236 with three homers, 18 RBIs and 11 steals this year for Triple-A Rochester.

Before his big league debut on June 22, 2022, Downs received a pregame congratulatory tweet from Jeter. The pair had met a few years earlier.ADVERTISEMENT

“Congratulations and good luck… unless you are playing the Yankees,” Jeter wrote.

Castillo was designated for assignment by Arizona on Dec. 22 to open a roster spot for outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., was claimed by the Mets off waivers from Arizona on Jan. 5, then was designated for assignment a week later when the Mets needed a roster spot for left-hander Sean Manaea.

The 26-year-old appeared in one big league game last year, flying out as a pinch hitter on July 31. He hit .313 with 33 doubles, three homers, 72 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 124 games at Triple-A Reno.

Castillo made his major league debut with Pittsburgh in 2022, when he batted .206 with 11 homers and 19 RBIs in 96 games. He was traded to Arizona in December 2022.

Thompson was claimed by the Yankees off waivers on Jan. 4 from Cincinnati, which claimed him on Oct. 26 from Kansas City, which claimed him from Texas on Aug 13. The 25-year-old hit .170 (9 for 53) with no homers, four RBIs and four stolen bases in 37 games with Texas last year.


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