Yankees demote top pitching prospect, hint at bullpen roles in latest roster shuffle

We're getting closer to showtime.

New York Yankees Photo Day
New York Yankees Photo Day / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Will Warren will not be the New York Yankees' fifth starter to begin the season. As it turns out, at the big-league level, he won't be anything just yet.

In a clarifying (if not confirming) roster shuffle on Sunday evening, the Yankees demoted a number of bullpen contenders, highlighted by Warren, to Triple-A and minor-league camp.

Cody Poteet, who is also likely to serve as a big-league swingman this season, allowed eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers in his fine regular-season tuneup. Spring results don't matter much, but they matter more when they look like that. He's been sent down as well, alongside Ron Marinaccio (what ... happened here, man) and Nick Ramirez. All three will probably be utilized on the Scranton Shuttle this season.

Warren will head down as well and remain stretched out while falling victim to service-time manipulation (and, let's face it, Luis Gil was just a little more dominant and experienced in camp). Most likely to receive Opening Day roster spots in his stead? Two of the three from the group of Dennis Santana, Clayton Beeter and Nick Burdi should make it. Intrigue remains, with one spring contest left on the docket.

Yankees demote Will Warren; Nick Burdi to bullpen for Opening Day?

Luke Weaver, who has impressed while displaying renewed life on his fastball lately, will slide into the Yankees' long man role, likely piggy-backing Gil in his first start against Arizona (if he doesn't appear sooner).

Santana will get one more chance to prove his worth in Monday's exhibition against Diablos Rojos, which he is set to start. It feels more likely, reading momentum's tea leaves, that Burdi, a non-roster invitee who's been spinning the fastball in absurd fashion this spring, as well as Beeter, who just covered four one-run innings with 13 swings-and-misses against Detroit, will get tact head nods from the front office.

Warren did nothing wrong this spring; he recovered well from his only blemish against Boston by taking advantage of spring training rules, returning for a clean second inning, and sweeping the Red Sox away by inducing plenty of chases. He will be back soon enough, in a role that has yet to be determined. The same cannot be said for folks like Marinaccio, who are bypassing Warren on the descent.