Aaron Boone all but reveals Yankees' fifth starter with latest glowing comments

Two men have been on a mission this spring. One might go to the bullpen.

New York Yankees v Miami Marlins
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Of all the New York Yankees' internal candidates to round out the rotation in the wake of Gerrit Cole's injury, two have impressed, and one has shown remarkably brightly.

That final candidate ... might shine even brighter out of the bullpen -- at least to begin the year. Luckily, the Yankees also have vacancies in that department.

Sunday brought about a seemingly seismic shift for the Yankees' plans, as both Will Warren and Clayton Beeter took on a lineup packed with Red Sox starters one day after Luis Gill blew by the Toronto Blue Jays with his leveled-up heater.

Warren got the full Yankees baptism in the first frame, as two fielding errors surrounded a Rafael Devers single and Trevor Story home run, leading to the right-hander's eventual removal and a flurry of unearned runs (which were, again, kinda earned due to the longball). Ultimately, he re-entered the contest for the second inning with a fresh frame, striking out breakout prospect Ceddanne Rafaela (for the second time in two innings) and Connor Wong.

Beeter covered the final four innings of the game (five hits, three earned runs), but it was Warren's resilience that caught Aaron Boone's eye. Beat writers perceived a similar twinkle in his eye to the Spring of Anthony Volpe when he discussed Warren's sweeper and sticktoitiveness.

Will Warren still has edge for Yankees' fifth starter job after blowup outing vs Red Sox?

After the loss, Boone focused much more closely on what happened after Warren's defense melted behind him and Trevor Story made him pay in the initial frame.

That fortitude, it seems, could dictate the way the team leans when it comes time to name an Opening Day roster:

"“Certainly a struggle [in the first inning], but kind of showed us who he was,” Boone said. “I thought he was pretty sharp the rest of the way. Unfettered. In fact it’s times like this you learn a little more, even more about a guy. I think he’s really good. I think he’s really good right now.”"

Aaron Boone on Will Warren

Gil's spring has been phenomenal; across four outings (two starts), he's struck out 18 men in 11 2/3 innings, allowing just five hits and four walks. Still, this spring represents Gil's first real reps since the Tommy John surgery that cut his 2022 season short. The less mileage the Yankees can put on his arm, the better (and can you imagine how his 99 MPH stuff might play in short-ish, Michael King-style relief?).

Both pitchers will play important roles for the 2024 Yankees, especially given the depth they sacrificed in order to add Juan Soto. The betting favorite for the rotation after this weekend's work might be the slightly worse performer, though.