Another Sure Sign That Top Rookie About To Claim Yankees Shortstop Job

One scan of today's lineup for the New York Yankees in their Grapefruit League game against the Detroit Tigers, and you get the distinct feeling that Isiah Kiner-Falefa's days at shortstop are definitely doomed. 

IKF is getting the start in center field on Friday, further increasing his versatility, and expanding on the ways in which manager Aaron Boone can use him. It's yet another sign of the Yankees paving the way for one of their top shortstop prospects to take over the job come Opening Day (and although Anthony Volpe is in at short for Friday's game, it is more likely that Oswald Peraza will get the nod to start the season). 

Kiner-Falefa has been taking fly balls in center all week in preparation for his CF debut, and he's been working with instructor (and former Yankee All-Star) Nick Swisher in the outfield. 

“I think it’s just good to add some tools,” Kiner-Falefa said this week. “Shortstop is obviously the second-hardest position on the field after being a catcher, so adding center field to my resume a little bit is good; just being able to play there in a pinch if something happens and the team needs me.”

Oh, they'll need him all right. With Harrison Bader out of the picture for several weeks to start the season, there are some outfield reps ready for consumption. 

“I think he’d be natural out there," said Boone. "The ability to move around, his speed and athleticism, his bat-to-ball [skills].”

Although no official decision has yet been announced on who gets the starting shortstop job this season, today's lineup is yet another sure sign that it very likely will not be Kiner-Falefa, and that one of the top prospect rookies will be the choice at the keystone.

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports