The Yankees are close to final opening day lineup

TAMPA — As they entered the final day of abbreviated spring training, the Yankees’ opening day lineup was almost settled.

Manager Aaron Boone wasn’t ready to announce the final roster after Monday’s penultimate Grapefruit League game, but the latest series of cuts earlier in the day left only a handful of roster decisions left, barring last-minute trades ahead the opening day on Thursday.

“We’re very close to finalizing some things, but we also have to wait the next 24 to 36 hours,” Boone said Monday afternoon.

The Yankees made a deal after Boone spoke by acquiring right-hander David McKay from the Rays and adding him to their 40-man roster.

Earlier in the day, the Yankees had selected pitchers Deivi Garcia and Luis Gil for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where they also fielded left Manny Banuelos and outfielder Ender Inciarte.

The Yankees tended to carry 16 pitchers on their 28-man roster, according to Boone, which would leave them a three-man bench. Two spots would go to DJ LeMahieu and backup catcher Jose Trevino, but the other could be filled by super utilityman Marwin Gonzalez, extra outfielder and speed threat Tim Locastro, or third baseman/left fielder Miguel Andujar. Locastro and Andujar both still have an option.

Aaron Boone

If Gonzalez makes the team — Boone wouldn’t say if he did Monday — the Yankees would have to open a spot on the 40-man roster. They could do that through a trade (from someone like Andujar) or by putting Stephen Ridings (back) on the big league list and then putting him on the 60-day injured list.

As for the pitching staff, left-hander JP Sears said Boone told him he’d made the team after he came out Monday. He would be the 14th pitcher to secure a roster spot and leaves two potential openings for McKay, Clarke Schmidt or Ron Marinaccio. Before the McKay deal, Boone said Schmidt and Marinaccio had “an excellent shot” to break camp with the team.

Garcia has put together a case to put the team in a long relief role after a brutal 2021 with a strong spring, but will instead continue to stretch out as a starter in Triple-A. That spring, he allowed just one run in five innings while striking out two and going none at his fastball pace of up to 95-96 mph. He and Gil will likely still be counted for innings with the Yankees this season.

“We put a lot into opening day, but that can change quickly,” Boone said. “The bottom line is that Deivi Garcia is in a much better place right now than my perception of what we would have seen four weeks ago. But I thank him for – and I told him that – he’s been through a tough season, faced adversity and worked through it.

Marvin Gonzales
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Banuelos, the former top contender, also opened eyes at camp, but his case was hurt by not being on the 40-man list.

“Manny came in, not quite on our radar, and he performed well in everything he did,” Boone said. “As I told him, he could be a guy that we could very easily reach early in the season.”

Inciarte, meanwhile, can turn down his stint at Triple-A, but Boone hoped he would accept it after showing he was healthy at camp.

— Additional reporting by Dan Martin The Yankees are close to final opening day lineup


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