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Montgomery's rotation spot almost assured

MLB.com @BryanHoch

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Coming off a campaign in which he paced all American League rookies in starts, strikeouts and innings pitched, Jordan Montgomery has all but secured his place in the rotation, manager Aaron Boone said.

Montgomery, whose next start will come on Sunday against the Marlins, has limited opponents to one run on five hits in 8 2/3 Grapefruit League innings (1.04 ERA). Boone said on Friday that he sees the fifth rotation spot as belonging to Montgomery.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Coming off a campaign in which he paced all American League rookies in starts, strikeouts and innings pitched, Jordan Montgomery has all but secured his place in the rotation, manager Aaron Boone said.

Montgomery, whose next start will come on Sunday against the Marlins, has limited opponents to one run on five hits in 8 2/3 Grapefruit League innings (1.04 ERA). Boone said on Friday that he sees the fifth rotation spot as belonging to Montgomery.

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"I viewed him as very much a front-runner for that spot," Boone said. "We're really excited about not only the year he put together last year, but where we think he can continue to go. When I look at him, I look at him as one of our starters."

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Montgomery, 25, will pitch alongside Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia in the rotation. Montgomery went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts for New York last season, striking out 144 in 155 1/3 innings.

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Boone said that with Montgomery locked in as a starter, the Yankees are transitioning Chad Green back to the bullpen role he served last season. Green has started twice this spring, working 3 2/3 frames, and is projected to provide the Yanks with a valuable multi-inning reliever.

"We feel about as good as any team in Major League Baseball about our 'pen," Boone said. "If we have the lead after five or six, we feel really good about it based upon who we have down there. We have a lot of guys that we feel can come in and put out fires in the middle of innings."

Three down
Prior to Friday's game against the Braves, the Yankees made three cuts from big league camp. Right-handers Albert Abreu and Jonathan Loaisiga were optioned to Class A Tampa, and infielder Thairo Estrada was optioned to Double-A Trenton. Abreu (appendix) and Estrada (gunshot wound) have not appeared in game action this spring. Loaisiga pitched a scoreless inning.

Camp battles
Boone said that the Yankees have not decided if they will use their 25th roster spot on a pitcher or a position player to begin the season, which could potentially affect a bench candidate such as first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin.

"The extra bench guy can be valuable, and that might be something that is fluid all year, depending on a series maybe we're going into, and matchups," Boone said. "Do we go with that fourth bench guy, or do we want that 13th pitcher? That'll be something that we constantly meet over and debate."

Up next
Luis Cessa will make his third start of the spring on Saturday, when the Yankees host the Mets at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV and MLB Network. Cessa had been slated to start earlier in the week but had his outing pushed back by a stiff neck. Matt Harvey will start for the Mets.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery