Two weeks to go, and there are 48 players still on the active roster in Yankees camp. One way or another, the Yankees will trim that number to 25 before Opening Day. These are the guys still in camp.
Obvious big leaguers (17)
Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Hiroki Kuroda, Chris Stewart, Robinson Cano, Francisco Cervelli, Dave Robertson, Ichiro Suzuki, Travis Hafner, David Aardsma, Kevin Youkilis, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain, David Phelps
Nothing to do with these guys except put them on the major league roster and take them north. I guess you could say that Stewart is still competing with Bobby Wilson, but I’m not sure that’s actually true. Nova and Phelps are technically competing for the fifth starter job, with the vague possibility that the loser could go to Triple-A to stay stretched out, but that just doesn’t seem realistic at this point. Seems like they’re in.
Nunez is certainly getting the playing time that suggests the Yankees are locked into using him in a platoon role. I fully expect him to be on the roster — at this point, I’ll be stunned if they send him to Triple-A – but I don’t think it’s quite a 100 percent guarantee. Close, but not quite. Similar story for Boesch, who seems like a natural fit to help fill the void in the outfield. If nothing else, the fact he’s a left-handed hitter makes him stand out. But, like Nunez, Boesch has options. The Yankees say he’s not a sure thing to break camp.
Status uncertain (3)
Clay Rapada, Boone Logan, Phil Hughes
All three seem to have big league jobs waiting for them, the only question is whether they’ll be healthy enough to open the season. Girardi said yesterday that Logan seems to be on track. He hasn’t pitched in a game, but he’ll pitch a simulated game on Tuesday, which means he could be in a regular game later in the week. Hughes is pitching a simulated game this afternoon, and the Yankees remain hopeful that they have enough time to get him ready to open the season. Rapada is a significant question mark. He’s currently shut down with shoulder bursitis and Girardi has acknowledged that there’s a good chance he won’t be ready in two weeks.
Trying to win a spot (7)
Dan Johnson, Jayson Nix, Ben Francisco, Juan Rivera, Thomas Neal, Melky Mesa, Ronnier Mustelier
If you assume Nunez and Boesch are on the roster, the Yankees still have room for three of these guys. The only left-handed hitter in the bunch is Johnson. The only middle infielder is Nix. There are four right-handed outfielders, one of whom — Rivera — could also win a job at first base. If the Yankees don’t make a move, nearly half of these guys will be on the Opening Day roster.
Possible injury replacements (5)
Bobby Wilson, Cody Eppley, Shawn Kelley, Josh Spence, Jim Miller
There’s no indication that either Cervelli or Stewart is hurt, but an injury seems to be Wilson’s only chance of making the team at this point. Spence could sneak onto the roster if Rapada isn’t ready and the Yankees decide they want a second lefty, but the Yankees could also replace Rapada with one of the experienced right-handers – either Kelley, Eppley or Miller. Eppley is the most familiar of the bunch, but he’s also had the worst spring of the group.
Nuno has been terrific this spring, Velazquez is a versatile guy with big league experience, and Heathcott is a left-handed outfielder who’s awfully good in the field. Even so, it’s hard to envision any of these 11 actually breaking camp on the roster. A case could be made, certainly, but it just doesn’t seem realistic. There might be a few mid-season call-ups in this bunch, but Opening Day big leaguers seems like a stretch.
Inevitably heading to the DL (4)
Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, David Herndon, Cesar Cabral
The Yankees already put Alex Rodriguez and Michael Pineda on the disabled list, and it’s a matter of time before these four join them. Of this bunch, only Herndon is on a minor league deal and not on the 40-man roster. The rest could be retroactive cases for the 60-day disabled list, especially if/when the Yankees need to open roster spots for guys like Nix and Rivera.
Associated Press photos