With one roster spot still unofficial, though, fans’ eyes turned to every hint possible to discern who’d be the 26th man in the bullpen.
Justin Wilson’s fatigued arm cleared out a place for a deserving newcomer to parlay a first impression into a role on this team, and after we learned both Nick Nelson and Michael King had made the club Monday (per Brian Cashman), there seemed to be a natural fit for the last spot, as long as the Yankees could get the roster properly managed.
Based on early morning appearances Wednesday, they did just that.
Without a 40-man spot when the spring opened, left-hander Lucas Luetge appears to have earned an Opening Day nod, as he was spotted with the big league club on Wednesday instead of at the Alternate Site in Scranton.
This likely means reliever Zack Britton was transferred to the 60-Day IL, no big surprise by any stretch.
It sure seems Lucas Luetge has made the Yankees Opening Day roster.
If a roster spot even can be earned by an unknown in spring training, Luetge powerfully laid out the blueprint, putting up just about the best spring numbers imaginable.
The 33-year-old lefty, inarguably the biggest surprise of camp, whiffed 18 men in 10.1 innings pitched, only allowing two runs — both of which came on solo homers to the Blue Jays bench in one of his final outings. No harm, no foul.
All spring long, Luetge was tested, and he passed every examination with a nasty curve, slicing up the likes of Bryce Harper and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as he was tasked with increasingly tough challenges as the month wore on.
Clearly, Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone wanted to see if what they had was for real. So far, so good.
At every turn this spring, Luetge looked the definition of filthy, and will likely play a surprisingly large role in filling both Britton and Wilson’s shoes (lefty depth ain’t what it used to be).
We began camp surprised at the effectiveness of his stuff, but after over a month of high performance, it’s now par for the course.
Hopefully, the dream continues into the regular season.
Update: It happened! Lucas Luetge is officially on the Yankees Opening Day roster.
What an ascendance for someone who absolutely deserves this chance.