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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


The final 35: What’s left in camp

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 28, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees coaching staff and front office decision makers will meet today to finalize their Opening Day roster. As it stands, they have 35 players in camp. Two are certain to open on the disabled list and 21 are locked in major league roles. Here’s what’s left in camp and what’s left to be decided.

Michael PinedaSTARTING PITCHERS (6)
On the roster: CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda
Competing for a spot: none
Also in camp: Shane Greene

With the rotation set, every other pitcher in camp is basically a reliever at this point. I’ll make an exception, though, for Greene. He could be seen as a bullpen candidate — and he’s certainly pitched well — but considering he has less than 80 innings above Class-A, I’m going to call him a long shot to break camp. If the Yankees keep Vidal Nuno in the big leagues instead of keeping him stretched out in the minors, Greene could make a case for himself as the sixth starter if one is needed a few weeks into the season.

RELIEF PITCHERS (10)
On the roster: Dave Robertson, Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton, David Phelps, Adam Warren
Competing for a spot: Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Matt Daley, Vidal Nuno
Also in camp: Andrew Bailey

If you don’t count Greene, the Yankees basically have four pitchers for two bullpen spots. There are two righties and two lefties. Nuno could also be considered a long man. Daley is the only one not on the 40-man roster. If this spring was enough to make the Yankees lose faith in Preston Claiborne, I suppose he could be DFA to open a spot for Daley, but that seems pretty unnecessary. Betances has pitched extremely well this spring, and it seems entirely possible if not likely that the Yankees will carry a second lefty; either a true left-on-left guy in Cabral or a less overwhelming but more versatile guy in Nuno. Bailey is technically still in camp, but he’s just rehabbing.

CATCHERS (3)
On the roster: Brian McCann, Francisco Cervelli
Competing for a spot: none
Also in camp: Jose Gil

This situation is set with McCann the obvious starter and Cervelli playing his way into the backup role. Technically, the Yankees do have a third catcher still in camp, only because they haven’t made the inevitable move of sending Gil back to the minors. With the Triple-A catching situation overcrowded, I guess Gil could end up back in Trenton as the backup to Gary Sanchez.

Daniel Nava, Dean AnnaINFIELDERS (9)
On the roster: Mark Teixiera, Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Derek Jeter
Competing for a spot: Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Yangervis Solarte, Zelous Wheeler
Also in camp: Brendan Ryan

With Ryan heading for the disabled list, the Yankees have four options — realistically, three options — for two open spots. Wheeler is still in camp and has played well, but he’s less versatile and less experienced than the rest, so it’s harder to imagine him breaking camp. The more realistic options start with Nunez and Anna, if only because they’re on the roster and bring some balance as a righty and lefty combination. That said, Solarte has been terrific this spring, switch hits and can play all over the infield plus the outfield corners. Question is whether he’s done enough to convince the Yankees it’s worth opening a 40-man roster spot for him.

OUTFIELDERS (8)
On the roster: Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki
Competing for a spot: None
Also in camp: Antoan Richardson, Adonis Garcia

The only outfielder who seemed to have a remote chance of taking Ichiro’s spot on the bench was Zoilo Almonte, who had a terrific spring but has been sent to Triple-A. That leaves a pretty clear set of five outfielders with no surprises in the bunch. Ichiro’s role is pretty undefined, but his roster spot seems secure. Garcia had a terrific spring that might have put him on the radar should the Yankees need an outfielder this season. He and Almonte seem likely to get a ton of playing time in the outfield corners in Triple-A. Garcia has also played some center field and third base this spring.

Associated Press photos

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