Yankees claim Guardians’ Gonzalez off waivers

MLB

NEW YORK — Oscar Gonzalez, whose walk-off single beat the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2022 AL Division Series, was claimed by New York off waivers from the Cleveland Guardians on Friday.

The 25-year-old outfielder is a right-handed hitter and batted .214 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 54 games last season. He made his major league debut on May 26, 2022, and hit .296 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs in 91 games.

Gonzalez’s 15th-inning homer off Tampa Bay‘s Corey Kluber completed a two-game wild-card series sweep in 2022. Against the Yankees in the division series, he hit a tiebreaking 10th-inning single off Clay Holmes and scored on Josh Naylor‘s double as Cleveland won 4-2 in Game 2.

Gonzalez followed with a ninth-inning single off Clarke Schmidt in Game 3 that drove in Steven Kwan for a 6-5 victory.

He was a fan favorite in Cleveland, partly because of his October performance along with his choice of the “SpongeBob SquarePants” theme song as his walk-up music. Despite Gonzalez’s clutch hits in the 2022 postseason, he surprisingly began last season in the minors.

Gonzalez hit .287 in 83 games at Triple-A Columbus with 23 doubles, 13 homers and 64 RBIs.

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