TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees called upon Chad Green as their opener 15 times during the regular season in 2019, then did so once more in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros, a contest that would prove to be their last of the year.
Surveying the pitching landscape five days ahead of Wednesday’s report date for pitchers and catchers, the right-hander believes that he will be tasked with a more traditional relief role this season, due in large part to the arrival of ace Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery’s return from Tommy John surgery.
“Opening was a little bit out of necessity last year, but we've got some guys that are going to step up and pitch some big innings,” Green said. “With Monty being back and guys getting some experience under their belt, I think we should be good.”
The 28-year-old Green posted a 4.17 ERA and 98 strikeouts over 54 appearances last year, including a 3.72 ERA and 32 strikeouts in his opening assignments. New York went 11-4 in contests that Green opened during the regular season.
Green said that he is looking forward to speaking with Cole, who inked a nine-year, $324 million contract in December and is expected to arrive at Yankees camp early next week.
“It's exciting, obviously,” Green said. “[Signing Cole] was the main goal going into the offseason, and we accomplished that. It's exciting when you see that, especially a player of that caliber. It'll be exciting to get to know him and pick his brain a little bit and see what he's got.”
Early-arriving Yanks hurlers have been working with new pitching coach Matt Blake, who was hired in November to replace Larry Rothschild. The 34-year-old Blake is expected to bring a high-tech, analytics-inclined approach to the dugout.
“He seems like he really knows the numbers and what works for you,” Green said. “That's good to know. He's willing to work with us and try to get to know us. It's kind of a back-and-forth conversation. It's good so far.”
Green, who has been with the Yankees’ organization since 2016, said that he was “upset” by Major League Baseball’s confirmation that the Astros utilized electronic devices to steal signs during the 2017 season. Houston ended the Yanks’ season in a seven-game ALCS that year, a series in which the home team won each contest.
“At the end of the day, you've just got to move forward and put it in the past,” Green said. “It's going to be tough, knowing what could have been in '17. That's a tough game to play -- what could have been, what should have happened. I thought we were on a good run. I thought we were playing really well. It's unfortunate that all that happened.”
Miguel Andújar continued to take fly balls in left field on Friday at the Yankees’ Minor League complex, aiming to increase his versatility in hopes of securing an Opening Day roster spot. Andújar is expected to play first base, third base and the outfield during the Grapefruit League schedule.