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Isiah Kiner-Falefa may have been the New York Yankees primary shortstop last season, starting there 131 times overall, but it seems like he could be filling a new role in the new year, as a utility type. The Yankees have not yet ruled out deploying Kiner-Falefa as their starting shortstop; what they have done is experiment with him at other positions, including soon the outfield.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters (including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch) on Tuesday that Kiner-Falefa has been working with former big-league outfielder Nick Swisher to learn the nuances of playing on grass. Kiner-Falefa will even be making an appearance in center field in spring training before the week elapses. Boone added that he thinks Kiner-Falefa could be a "natural" out there.

Kiner-Falefa has never played the outfield in the majors. He's not a complete novice, however, as he did appear in 10 games in the outfield as a minor-league player. His most recent appearance in center field came back in 2017, which explains why the Yankees have him receiving a crash-course education before he's tasked with an in-game assignment. 

Kiner-Falefa had a disappointing first season in the Bronx after getting traded to the Yankees almost exactly one year ago. He hit .261/.314/.327 (84 OPS+) with four home runs and 22 stolen bases. Some public defensive metrics were high on his glovework; Baseball-Reference, for instance, estimated him to have contributed three Wins Above Replacement. Nevertheless, the Yankees moved off Kiner-Falefa as their everyday shortstop during the postseason, and it seems more likely than not that they'll roll with youngster Oswald Peraza as their starter heading into the season.

Kiner-Falefa, in turn, would move into a utility role that would see him ping-pong around the diamond as Boone sees fit. At minimum, it can't hurt the Yankees to have another player with some outfield experience to their name -- particularly since starting outfielder Harrison Bader is expected to miss the start of the season because of a strained oblique. In just a matter of days, Kiner-Falefa will get the chance to prove he's up for it.