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Yankees ‘pretty close’ to finalizing Opening Day roster

TAMPA — As they entered the final day of shortened spring training, the Yankees’ roster for Opening Day was almost set.

Manager Aaron Boone wasn’t ready to reveal the final roster after Monday’s penultimate Grapefruit League game, but the latest round of cuts earlier today left just a handful of roster decisions. remaining, excluding any last-minute trades before Thursday’s opening day.

“We’re close to finalizing some things, but we also have to let the next 24 to 36 hours play out,” Boone said Monday afternoon.

The Yankees reached a deal after Boone’s speech, acquiring right-handed reliever David McKay from the Rays and adding him to their 40-man roster.

Earlier in the day, the Yankees moved pitchers Deivi Garcia and Luis Gil to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where they also assigned left-hander Manny Banuelos and outfielder Ender Inciarte.

The Yankees were inclined to carry 16 pitchers on their 28-man roster, according to Boone, which would leave them with a three-man bench. Two spots would go to DJ LeMahieu and backup catcher Jose Trevino, but the other could be filled by super utility Marwin Gonzalez, extra outfielder and speed threat Tim Locastro, or third baseman/left fielder Miguel Andujar . Locastro and Andujar both have an option.

Aaron Boon

If Gonzalez makes the team — Boone wouldn’t say if he did on Monday — the Yankees should open up a spot on the 40-man roster. They could do it through a trade (from someone like Andujar) or by adding Stephen Ridings (return) to the big league roster and then putting him on the 60-day injured list.

As for the pitching staff, left-hander JP Sears said Boone told him after he came out on Monday that he had been on the team. He would be the 14th pitcher to earn a spot on the roster, leaving two potential openings for McKay, Clarke Schmidt or Ron Marinaccio. Prior to the McKay deal, Boone said Schmidt and Marinaccio had “a great shot” at breaking camp with the team.

Garcia has built a case to make the team a spring-loaded relief after a brutal 2021, but will continue to stretch as a Triple-A starter. This spring, he allowed just one run in five innings, while striking out two and walking none with his fastball speed reaching 95-96 mph. He and Gil will probably be counted on for innings with the Yankees this season.

“We invested a lot in opening day, but that can change quickly,” Boone said. “At the end of the day, Deivi Garcia is in a much better position right now than my perception of what we would have seen four weeks ago. But I owe him – and I told him – for going through a tough season, for facing adversity and for getting on with it.

Yankees ‘pretty close’ to finalizing Opening Day roster
Marwin Gonzalez
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Banuelos, the former top prospect, was also an eye-opener in camp, but his case was hurt by not making the 40-man roster.

“Manny came in, not completely on the radar with us, and in everything he did, he performed well,” Boone said. “As I told him, he could be a guy we could very easily join at the start of the season.”

Inciarte, meanwhile, may decline his Triple-A assignment, but Boone hoped he would accept it after showing he was in good health at camp.

— Additional reporting by Dan Martin

New York Post

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