Late last night the New York Yankees made some tough decisions regarding their roster. Recent roster cuts included a handful of pitchers and few position players. Most notably was relief pitcher Preston Claiborne and utility infielder Scott Sizemore. Depending on how you look at these moves, the Yankees final roster is seemingly now all coming together.
Preston Claiborne had a rough spring, no way around it. After being a key part of last season’s bullpen, he struggled right out of the gate. Manager Joe Girardi acknowledged it almost immediately this spring. “With what he did last year, we thought that he would have a really good chance to be in our bullpen,” “He just really never got on a roll in spring training and, as we’ve told him, we know he’s capable of pitching much better than he did. It’s his job to just get ready.” said Girardi this morning. This spring he posted 14.29 ERA in 5.2 innings pitched. Claiborne has been optioned to Triple-A Scranton to start the season.
Other pitchers on the list included right-handed pitchers Chris Leroux, Jim Miller, David Herndon, Yoshinori Tateyama, Danny Burawa, and one lefty, Fred Lewis. All six pitchers had a great spring, but have now been officially assigned to the minor league camp. The position players that have been reassigned are Russ Canzler and spring hopeful Scott Sizemore. Zoilo Almonte was also cut today, as he has also been optioned to Scranton. Almonte is in the lineup today, but he will start the season the with the RailRiders.
With these moves out of the way, the final roster cuts will come tomorrow. A few key roster spots are still on the line, including the two backup infield spots and the rest of the bullpen needs to be filled out. Dean Anna, Eduardo Nunez, Zelous Wheeler and the impressive Yangervis Solarte are all still battling for a spot on the 25-man roster. The word is Anna and Nunez have the advantage, both of which are currently on the 40-man roster. But Solarte has opened up some eyes this spring.
It will be interesting to see what the Yankees decide to do with Solarte. The bullpen decisions are still a tad fuzzy, GM Brian Cashman has said they would like to have two lefties in the bullpen, obviously one spot is going to Matt Thornton. But the other is still up for grabs between Cesar Cabral and Vidal Nuno. The righties Dellin Betances, Matt Daley, and Shane Greene are also still fighting for the other bullpen role. Today will be the final auditions for all these crucial roster spots.