Kozma agreed to a minor league deal with the Yankees that includes an invitation to spring training. The 29-year-old spent all of 2016 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, struggling to a line of .209/.268/.265 in 445 at-bats. His last stint in the majors was in 2015 with the Cardinals, where he also struggled, producing a .152/.236/.152 line in 99 at-bats. He will likely return to Triple-A to serve as organizational depth in 2017.
Kozma went 0-for-3 on Wednesday against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Kozma struggled in spring training, only registering seven hits during 32 at-bats for the Yankees. This has carried over to his play for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as he has yet to collect a hit in 14 at-bats. Kozma recorded 99 at-bats for the Cardinals last season, and finished with a .152 average with two RBI in 76 games. This spring, he lost out on a utility role with the Yankees and finds himself behind Rob Refsnyder and Donovan Solano. Due to a lower back injury early in spring training, Kozma will have to make up serious ground to be viewed as a better option than Solano, and will most likely spend all of 2016 in the minors barring multiple injuries.
Kozma is hitting just .100 (1-for-10) in seven games but remains in the mix for a utility role along with Rob Refsnyder, Jonathan Diaz, Ronald Torreyes and Donovan Solano, NJ.com reports. Refsnyder looks like the clear leader for the final bench spot, so Kozma may not make the final roster. At least Kozma is healthy after a back ailment earlier in spring training.
Kozma (back) is expected to participate in one of Thursday's split-squad games, The Westchester Journal News reports. Kozma suffered a lower-back ailment at the beginning of camp, but he's been working out recently and looks to be putting the issue behind him. The 27-year-old has an outside chance to crack the Opening Day roster as a utility infield option, but he'll likely begin the year at the Triple-A level.
Kozma will miss a couple of weeks with a lower back issue, Chad Jennings of LoHud.com reports. It was unlikely that Kozma made the Yankees roster out of camp, but now that he will be sidelined for a couple weeks due to injury, his chances are close to none. The former first-round pick will have a lot of ground to make up once he is healthy, but after hitting just .152/.236/.152 in 2015, it's likely he ends up in the minor leagues to start the season.