Green's versatility a luxury for Yankees

February 8th, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. -- has been stretching out to serve as a starting pitcher this spring, but the right-hander understands that he may be too valuable for the Yankees to remove from their dominant bullpen.

"I've started my whole life, so it's not anything new to me," Green said on Thursday. "It's not up to me, so I think the situation will play itself out in case someone goes down or something happens. It could be a good safety net, but I'm prepared for whatever role they have me in."

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Green was a contender for the Yankees' fifth rotation slot last spring, which was eventually entrusted to left-hander . Working mostly in relief, Green posted a 1.83 ERA in 40 games, compiling an electric 13.43 strikeouts per nine innings out of the bullpen.

Earning favorable comparisons to Mariano Rivera's dominant 1996 season as John Wetteland's setup man, Green became the eighth reliever in franchise history to record 100 strikeouts in a season, ringing up multiple strikeouts in 30 appearances and enjoying six outings with at least five strikeouts.

"It's obviously a fun group to be a part of," Green said. "I feel like everybody's mentality is to get the ball to Chappy []. Whatever inning that is -- whether it's fourth, fifth -- I know for me I'll be happy to pitch whatever situation that is."

Montgomery is viewed as a front-runner for the fifth rotation slot, with , and also in the mix. Manager Aaron Boone recently said that he recognizes the value that someone like the 26-year-old Green can provide.

"To win a world championship, you've got to have a deep 'pen, which means you have a deep staff," Boone said. "With guys like Chad Green who can come in and go multiple innings and not only put out fires but really dominate in different roles, it gives you so much flexibility. Top to bottom, we have guys that aren't restricted to right-left matchups."

Whatever his role, Green said that he aims to carry over what he experienced in 2017, particularly the 8 2/3 postseason innings that included a victory over the Astros in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series. Green also served up a memorable game-tying grand slam to the Indians' in Game 2 of the AL Division Series.

"When you realize that you're one game away from going to the World Series, that didn't sit well with a lot of people," Green said. "Even though it was nice to get to that point, I think when you're one win away it makes you a little bit more hungry for what's to come."