TAMPA, Fla. – Earlier this week, there was a two-plus hour meeting of Yankees officials to discuss the look of the 25-man roster.
There’s still a very open competition for the back-end rotation spots, and now there is a new shooter at the dice table.
Lefty Jordan Montgomery will start today’s game against the Rays at Port Charlotte, and he’s now joined a field that includes Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell.
The bullpen needs to be finalized and there’s a shortstop to pick now that Didi Gregorius (sore right shoulder) will be sidelined until sometime in May.
And then there’s right field.
You might have heard that Hal Steinbrenner, back in late November, said he anticipated Aaron Judge would be his starting right fielder this year.
Manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman rather pragmatically said there would be a competition between Judge and Aaron Hicks in spring training, despite the appearance of Judge as a heavy favorite.
“That’s going to come down to the wire as well,’’ Girardi said of his right-field battle.
The tale of the tape shows a pretty even race:
Judge is slashing .273/.360/.477 in 18 games.
Hicks is slashing .256/.341/.513 in 17 games.
Judge is 12-for-44 with a double, triple, two homers, three RBI and 11 strikeouts.
Hicks is 10-for-39 with two doubles, a triple, two homers, three RBI and seven Ks.
“Hicks has done a lot of good things,’’ Girardi said. “He’s played the outfield well, swung the bat well, gotten bunt base hits, hit the ball out of the ballpark.’’
Judge has had “a pretty good camp, too,’’ Girardi said.
Asked if he could envision a situation where Hicks would win the right-field job but Judge would still make the club, Girardi declined to answer. “We have to talk about what is best for him,’’ he said.
In other words, stay tuned.
But it’s increasingly possible that Judge might start the year at Class AAA Scranton and Hicks could be the opening day right fielder in another March upset.