LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Spring Training Battles In Home Stretch

Friday, March 27, 2015

Yankees Spring Training Battles In Home Stretch

With a little more than a week left before Opening Day, Spring Training position battles are entering the home stretch. Right now, of the major competitions, only one appears to have an obvious winner. Another was dropped into someone's lap. The others aren't so clear-cut.

Fifth Starter: Adam Warren is the obvious winner here. He has blown the other candidates out of the water. Congratulations to him.

Backup Catcher: Austin Romine being out of options makes this a tough one. Neither he or John Ryan Murphy have been lighting it up this Spring, and I've heard no rumors that any teams are interested in Romine. My guess is that the job will go to Romine and Murphy will be the starting catcher down at AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

Opening Day Starter: As far as I'm concerned this shouldn't even have been a competition. The Opening Day starter should be the pitcher who had the best season in 2014. That man is Masahiro Tanaka. There was a brief period, however, that both he and CC Sabathia were being considered. That was a complete joke. Go get 'em, Tanaka-san.

Closer: Whether or not there is an actual competition for this job depends on what day it is, it seems. No one knows if there will be one closer or if Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller will share the job. While Miller has been decent, he hasn't exactly pitched like a closer. Betances hasn't even performed like a decent pitcher. The Yankees aren't outwardly worried about Betances, so perhaps he'll be named the closer. However, this one is just too tough to call.

Second Base: When camp opened, the players in the running for this job were Stephen Drew, Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. A few weeks later the competition ended abruptly when Joe Girardi named Drew the starting 2B. Before his injury, Pirela appeared to be trying to force Girardi to change his mind. Refsnyder's five errors have assured him a spot on the Scranton roster this season.

Relievers: The best relievers this Spring have been Jacob Lindgren, Nick Rumbelow, Justin Wilson, and Chase Whitley. Esmil Rogers, who has been competing for the fifth starter's job, could pitch out of the pen as well. Chasen Shreve, Chris Martin and David Carpenter have been terrible. Shreve, Lindgren and Rumbelow will likely start the season in Scranton. Wilson, Whitley and Rogers have definitely earned spots in the pen. Carpenter and Martin have something to prove their final week in camp.

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