February 24, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Francisco Rondon (74) throws a pitch in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Roster Cuts: Jose Ramirez and Francisco Rondon

March 9, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jose Ramirez (72) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Training is in full swing and the Yankees are gearing up for another run at their 28th World Series championship. The team is showing very positive signs of being real competitors in 2014 and New York is buzzing with how the roster looks. Unfortunately that roster can only include 25 men and most players in camp will not start the season in the Major Leagues. This weekend marked the first two cuts made by the Yankees. Jose Ramirez was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Francisco Rondon was sent to the Yankees Minor League camp. Both Ramirez and Rondon are pitchers and both of them suffered from injuries this spring. Ramirez (24) and Rondon (25) were both signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican when they were teenagers and have developed well in the minor leagues despite suffering from a few injuries along the way.

From 2006 to 2013 Rondon has pitched in 157 games including 38 starts and has 3.62 ERA along with 389 strikeouts. He’s been used in mostly relief appearances in recent years and has shown success in that role. He made three appearances in Triple-A last year after starting the season with Double-A Trenton Thunder. Between the two leagues Rondon appeared in 33 games (7 starts) and pitched to a 4-3 record with 3.92 ERA to go along with 3 saves and 85 strikeouts in 82.2 innings of work. While Rondon will not be joining the team for Opening Day in 2014 he is still young and is seen as a valuable piece to the future of the Yankees’ bullpen.

Jose Ramirez has been in the Yankees system since 2008 when he signed out of the Dominican Republic. He’s been used in both the bullpen and the rotation and is viewed as one of the Yankees’ top prospects. In 2013 he split time between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and sported a 2-6 record. But he pitched better than his record shows as he had only a 3.67 ERA and a 1.262 WHIP with 78 strikeouts in 73.2 innings. He even chalked up a save last year in his shortened season. Ramirez is seen as an important piece to the Yankees near future in either the rotation or the bullpen but he needs to be more consistent before becoming a Major League pitcher. Like Rondon he’s still young and has a lot of room to improve.

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