Yankees promoting prospect Ben Rice to replace injured Anthony Rizzo

With Anthony Rizzo sidelined, the New York Yankees are turning to one of their top prospects.

The club is promoting Ben Rice, multiple sources confirmed to the New York Daily News on Tuesday.

A catcher by trade, Rice has been gaining experience at first base. The Yankees’ 12th-best prospect has played 22 games there this season between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s totaled 55 professional appearances at the position.

“I feel good over there,” Rice said at the end of May. “It’s a learning process, like any other position would be. Infield is not something that’s totally foreign to me. I used to play second base a lot when I was younger. So it’s really just continuing to get reps over there. It’s just like anything. You just gotta keep going out there and keep seeing balls come off the bat, getting grounders, knowing where to be on the field in different situations. But I definitely like the improvements I’ve made over there so far.”

The Yankees are hoping that Rice’s first baseman’s mitt is ready for the majors, as the team could be without Rizzo for 4-6 weeks after the veteran fractured the radial neck of his right arm. Rizzo suffered the injury on Sunday following a collision with Red Sox reliever Brennan Bernardino.

There are fewer questions about Rice’s bat, which he swings from the left side.

Over 60 minor league games this season, the 25-year-old slashed .275/.393/.532 with 15 home runs, 36 RBI and nine stolen bases. Only 11 games into his promotion to Triple-A, Rice hit .333/.440/.619 with three homers and 10 RBI for the RailRiders.

A 12th-round draft pick in 2021, Rice began turning heads last season when he hit .327/.401/.648 with 16 dingers and 48 RBI over 48 games at Double-A. That performance earned the Dartmouth product an invitation to big league camp this past spring.

“He’s definitely a big league hitter,” a source said. “He’ll have adjustments to make, just like any hitter that goes to the big leagues for the first time. But he is very equipped to be able to make those adjustments as he learns from how the league adjusts to him.”

Rather than sliding DJ LeMahieu from third to first and giving Oswaldo Cabrera more reps at the hot corner, the Yankees are going to see what they have in Rice before next month’s trade deadline. With LeMahieu and Rizzo struggling before his injury, rumors began to circulate that the Yankees would try to trade for a corner infielder.

Rice’s promotion comes with the Yankees and Orioles starting a three-game series on Tuesday night.

Baltimore is starting two lefties, Cade Povich and Cole Irvin, in the last two games of the series. However, Rice actually has better splits against minor league southpaws this season, hitting .293 against them.