Dellin Betances, Vidal Nuno claim final two spots in Yankees bullpenManagaer Joe Girardi announced selections prior to Friday's game
While there was no decision on the infield openings as of Friday afternoon, Yankees manager Joe Girardi did reveal the seven members of his opening day bullpen to the media, with RHP Dellin Betances and LHP Vidal Nuno claiming the final two open spots.
Betances and Nuno, who will break camp with the major-league team for the first time in their careers, will join RHPs David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, David Phelps, and Adam Warren and LHP Matt Thornton in the relief corps on April 1.
Robertson, Kelley, and Thornton had been locks all spring, with Girardi saying Phelps and Warren would be in the bullpen after his announcement of Michael Pineda as the team's fifth starter earlier in the week.
Betances, who turned 26 last Sunday, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2006 Draft. He had been a starter his whole career until being moved to the bullpen during the 2013 season, but he responded favorably to the move and he responded by going 4-2 with a 1.35 ERA in 32 relief appearances with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and striking out 83 (against just 26 walks) in 60 innings.
The 6-foot-8 righty continued that dominance this spring, pitching to a 0.73 ERA in 10 Grapefruit League appearances through Thursday and striking out 11 against four walks in 12 1/3 innings.
Betances made his major-league debut in September 2011 and has had three short stints with the Yankees, striking out 12 in 7 2/3 innings over eight appearances in 2011 and 2013.
Nuno, 26, has also been primarily a starter since signing with the Yankees in 2011. He started the Yankees' spring-opening exhibition against Florida State University, and in four official Grapefruit League games (two starts) through Thursday, Nuno allowed three runs on five hits over eight innings (a 3.38 ERA), striking out eight and not walking a batter.
The lefty made his major-league debut with the Yankees last season, pitching 20 innings and going 1-2 with a 3.35 ERA in five games (two starts).
On the infield front, the Yankees have Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Yangervis Solarte, and Zelous Wheeler still battling for two spots on the 25-man roster, with all four are slated to see reserve action in Friday's game against the Marlins; Nunez will play second base, with Anna at shortstop, Wheeler at third base, and Solarte in left field.
Nunez and Anna are both on the 40-man roster, while Solarte and Wheeler are not.
Four other roster notes from Friday:
-Michael Pineda will indeed be the fifth starter, but he will not head to Houston with the team right away; he will instead be left behind to pitch in a minor-league game on Sunday, and will join the team for opening day. Pineda is scheduled to make his regular-season debut in Toronto on April 5, and with his last spring outing having come last Sunday, the team did not want to have him go 13 days without game action.
-Weather permitting, Jacoby Ellsbury, who has played in three minor-league games this week, will play in the Yankees' spring finale on Saturday afternoon against the Marlins. The skipper is confident that Ellsbury's calf issue is behind him, and that the center fielder will be in the lineup on opening day.
-According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post via Cashman, Manny Banuelos will not begin the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, for the dual purpose of keeping him out of cold weather and limiting his innings. Also, with Banuelos down lower and Nuno, Phelps, and Warren all in the major-league bullpen, both Chris Leroux and Shane Greene will definitely be in the Triple-A RailRiders' rotation.
Also, via a Tweet from Ken Davidoff of the Post, the Yankees have signed Alfredo Aceves to a minor-league deal with a July 1 opt-out clause. Aceves opted out of his previous minor-league deal with the Orioles on Thursday, and the righty will join Leroux and Greene in the RailRiders' rotation.