It’s time to leave Florida.
The Yankees play their final Grapefruit League game this afternoon against the Pirates. Hiroki Kuroda has the start, Robinson Cano is expected to play, and when it’s all over the Yankees will fly to Washington D.C. for the first of two final exhibition games before the regular season.
There are four days and three games for the Yankees to make their final roster decisions, and the team finds itself in the unusual position of being this close to Opening Day without knowing their starting first baseman, their right-handed designated hitter, their backup outfielder and two of their relief pitchers. To fill those spots, the Yankees will have to make difficult decisions beyond the major league roster, because the 40-man is full and at least two spots — probably more — will have to open to make room for injury replacements.
“That’s what happens,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “When you have a rash of significant injuries which aren’t 60-day situations — like in Granderson’s case or in Tex’s case — you’re going to wind up carrying a guys that (weren’t on the roster). Nothing you can do about it. It’s going to cut into some aspect. There are only 40 spots. What are you going to do? … We’re going to have to make tough calls that are going to affect good players. That’s life in the big city, at least this particular year.”
In making these final choices, Cashman made it clear that his priority will be the big league roster rather than protecting minor leaguers.
“My biggest need is the 25 (man roster) right now and what we’re going to run out there on Opening Day, especially first base,” Cashman said.
Associated Press photo