New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge bats against the Boston Red Sox in a spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
By Brendan Kuty
TAMPA — Yankees manager Joe Girardi had a long morning. The door to his office was mostly shut, except for when players and coaches shuffled in and out. When reporters walked in to speak with him, he leaned back in his seat to rest.
“So,” Girardi said, “should I just tell you everything I know?”
The question as rhetorical.
“That was a very tough call,” Girardi said, “a very good competition. In the end, we thought Judge won the competition.”
He added that righty Jonathan Holder, righty Bryan Mitchell and lefty Chasen Shreven will join the bullpen, Girardi said, giving the Yankees an eight-man relief unit along with closer Aroldis Chapman, set-up man Dellin Betances, righty Tyler Clippard, lefty specialist Tommy Layne and long reliever Adam Warren.
Luis Severino will be the team’s fourth starter, behind Opening Day starter Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, Girardi said. The team won’t name a fifth starter until April 16th, and Luis Cessa, Chad Green and Jordan Montgomery are options, the manager said.
Girardi was asked how he judged the Yankees’ five-man battle for the final two rotation spots.
“We didn’t think there was one guy who stood way above,” Girardi said. “I thought (Severino) did a good job. I thought Severino’s numbers were among the best. So he will be our fourth starter. So, in saying that, he needs to grab this and run with it. That’s the big thing. And the thing is, I don’t want guys looking over their shoulder every start they go out. … But this is a performance-based business, so you have to perform. And I believe (Severino) has the ability to perform. There’s things that he has to do and pitching down in the zone is one of them.”
Pete Kozma will be added to the 40- and 25-man rosters as the team’s backup infielder with Ronald Torreyes starting at shortstop in place of the injured Didi Gregorius, who’s expected to miss the first month of the season with a strained right shoulder.
It’s unclear how the team will fit Kozma onto the rosters. The Yankees may open a spot by putting Tyler Austin (fractured foot) on the 60-day disabled list.