Yankees get first crack at pitcher they traded to Rangers for Joey Gallo

A full evaluation of the trade may still not be clear for a few years, but the Yankees are about to get an up-close look at one of the pieces they gave up for Joey Gallo last summer. 

Right-hander Glenn Otto will get the start for the Rangers on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, squaring off against Gerrit Cole as the Yankees begin a five-game homestand. 

Otto was a fifth-round pick of the Yankees in 2017 before they sent him to Texas along with infielders Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith and infielder/outfielder Trevor Hauver last July for Gallo and reliever Joely Rodriguez. 

The 26-year-old Otto made his MLB debut last August with five shutout innings against the Astros before finishing the season with a 9.26 ERA in six starts. He did not make the team out of camp this year but soon got called up to replace the injured Jon Gray in the rotation. 

Glenn OttoThe Yankees traded Glenn Otto to the Rangers as part of the deal for Joey Gallo. USA TODAY SportsJoey GalloJoey GalloGetty Images

In two starts, Otto has allowed three runs over 9 ¹/₃ innings (2.89 ERA) while striking out 10 with a 0.964 WHIP. Gray returned this week but Otto has pitched well enough to remain in the rotation, giving him a chance to face his former organization. 

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Gallo, meanwhile, had a tough introduction to New York last season and it carried over into the start of this year. But the three-true-outcome slugger has started to look more like what the Yankees hoped they were getting as of late. Over his last eight games — he missed three straight this week with groin tightness before returning to the lineup Wednesday — he is batting 7-for-23 with three home runs, three walks and 12 strikeouts. 

While the Yankees turned Rodriguez into Miguel Castro (1.80 ERA) in a trade with the Mets during spring training, the rest of the package they dealt to the Rangers is still developing in the minor leagues. Duran, a Top-100 prospect by MLB.com’s rankings, is currently batting .227 with a .674 OPS in 21 games at Double-A Frisco. Smith is batting .256 with a .714 OPS in 21 games at Triple-A Round Rock and Hauver is hitting .164 with a .599 OPS in 18 games at High-A Hickory. 

This weekend will also serve as a reunion of sorts for two other Yankees, in former Rangers Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino. 

Kiner-Falefa, who arrived with the Yankees by way of the Twins (for a day), spent his first four big-league seasons with the Rangers. With the Yankees, the shortstop shrugged off a slow start to the year to enter Friday batting .295 with a 110 OPS-plus while playing strong defense. 

Trevino was still with the Rangers late in spring training before the Yankees acquired him to form a catching tandem with Kyle Higashioka. He has been lauded for his work with the Yankees’ pitching staff, though he has gone quiet offensively after a hot start to the season, bringing an 0-for-21 skid into Friday.

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