LAKELAND, Fla. — Can Marwin Gonzalez help the Yankees look more like their last foe, the Rays?
Aaron Boone hopes so.
The veteran bench player is in the running for a spot on the Yankees’ roster, and Boone said he hopes to have a bench that allows them to reflect some of what Tampa Bay does.
“Having flexible plays and different skill sets on the bench,” Boone said of what the Yankees are looking for when building the roster. “It’s something that I think Tampa [Bay] did a very good job of. Their roster complements each other very well. I hope this is the case with us. »
Gonzalez is one of those trying to figure it out. He was successful in his first Grapefruit League game with the Yankees, as he tried to earn a utility spot on the roster.
Afterwards, Gonzalez made it clear that was what he had in mind – despite signing a minor league contract.
“If I didn’t, I would have stayed home,” Gonzalez said of whether he thought he would be on the Yankees’ opening day roster. “If you don’t think you can do something, you stay home.”
Gonzalez is coming off two mediocre seasons at the plate, but the Yankees are taking a chance on his versatility on the court.
He started at shortstop in the Yankees’ 5-3 rain-shortened seven-inning game against the Tigers.
Aaron Boone said he will be in the lineup again on Friday — this time in left field — when the Yankees face the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.
“We’ll try to see what we have here in the next two weeks,” Boone said of Gonazalez, who signed with the Yankees despite playing on the 2017 Astros.
Gonzalez had by far the best season of his career at the plate that season, when the Astros got involved in a sign-stealing scandal.
Asked about his consecutive poor seasons at the plate, Boone said, “First and foremost, we want to see how he moves and swings the bat. How he is physically and try to make an assessment of it. You try not to get too carried away with the results.
Gonzalez hopes his ability to play in so many positions will help his chances.
“I think what I’ve done my whole career, being a utility player and jumping from position to position, sets me up,” Gonzalez said. “I haven’t had my best years in the last two years, but I’m working to get back into shape.”
Boone said the team won’t start finalizing the bench until the last week of spring.
In the outfield, Tim Locastro and Ender Inciarte could be replacements – with Brett Gardner still unsigned.
Of Inciarte, Boone said: “He’s a guy who’s been a really good player in this league for a long time and has had some nagging injuries for the last two years.”
But he made a few defensive plays this spring which impressed the manager.
Giancarlo Stanton’s ability to play in the outfield and DJ LeMahieu’s ability to move in the infield give the Yankees additional flexibility.
Ben Rortvedt still isn’t swinging a bat as he recovers from an oblique strain, but the catcher has added to his defensive work and has yet to be officially ruled out for Opening Day.
In addition to Rob Brantly, the Yankees have David Freitas in camp with major league experience.
New York Post