Lavarnway went 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, two home runs, three runs scored and six RBI in Friday's 12-11 loss to the Cardinals. Signed off the scrap heap the day before due to a rash of injuries at catcher for the Reds, Lavarnway tied his previous career high for homers in a big-league season in one night. The 31-year-old only had 19 plate appearances in the bigs over the prior two years and a career OPS of .593 coming into Friday, so expecting a repeat performance during his stint in Cincinnati -- or anything even close to it -- would probably be a fool's errand.
Lavarnway signed a major-league contract with the Reds on Thursday. Lavarnway will provide the Reds with catching depth while Curt Casali (knee), Tucker Barnhart (oblique) and Kyle Farmer (concussion) all deal with injuries. The veteran backstop owns a career .208 average across parts of seven seasons, so it would be unwise to expect much from him during his time with the Reds. To make room for Lavarnway on the roster, Casali was sent to the injured list while Jesus Reyes was designated for assignment.
The Yankees released Lavarnway on Thursday, Donnie Collins of The Scranton Times-Tribune reports. Lavarnway has spent the entire 2019 campaign with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .213 with three home runs across 129 plate appearances. The 31-year-old journeyman catcher lost his spot on the Triple-A roster after the Yankees signed reliever Dan Jennings to a minor-league contract.
Lavarnway was reassigned to minor-league camp Thursday. Lavarnway hit a respectable .333/.400/.444 with a pair of doubles and six RBI in 11 spring games, but was never expected to supplant Austin Romine as the team's backup. He'll remain in the organization as catching depth.
Lavarnway signed a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to spring training with the Yankees on Thursday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Lavarnway was recently outrighted from Pittsburgh's 40-man roster and elected to become a free agent following just one season within the Pirates' organization. The 31-year-old will have a chance to earn a spot on the Yankees' Opening Day roster, though he will likely be facing an uphill battle, especially if the club retains the services of Austin Romine. Lavarnway has only played in 12 big-league games over the past three years, so look for him to remain at the Triple-A level in 2019.
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