Gil, Warren make final push for Yanks' rotation

March 22nd, 2024

TAMPA, Fla. -- has put the finishing touches on what manager Aaron Boone described as “a really strong case” to make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster. Now the right-hander must play the waiting game.

Gil fired four innings of two-run, two-hit ball in the Yankees’ 5-3 Grapefruit League victory over the Mets at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Friday afternoon, wrapping a camp that has placed the 25-year-old in position to crack the club’s rotation.

“I’m really happy about it,” Gil said through an interpreter. “Coming into camp, I mentioned how hard I worked in the offseason to put myself in a really good situation. To me, it was important to have a good start. It’s exciting. I’m very fortunate and happy to have this opportunity.”

The Yankees have a crowded group of candidates to claim the fifth starter’s job, including No. 8 prospect Will Warren, who also bolstered his case with five innings of one-run ball on Friday.

“I thought he was in control,” Boone said of Warren. “You see all the stuff play. He’s got the starter repertoire, a lot of confidence and a great demeanor on the mound. He’s done a nice job and earned [a chance] to be in this position.”

With Clayton Beeter, Cody Poteet and Luke Weaver also in the mix, Boone said that the team may not necessarily finalize their plans before half of the roster travels to Mexico City after Saturday’s split-squad games.

“We have a lot of good choices,” Boone said.

Gil struck out five on Friday and has tallied a team-leading 23 punchouts over 15 2/3 innings this spring, compiling a 2.87 ERA while appearing to be fully recovered from the Tommy John surgery that cost him most of the 2022 and ’23 seasons.

In fact, Gil said he believes his repertoire is stronger than it was pre-surgery, in part because of how his improving changeup complements his fastball and slider.

“The changeup has given me the ability to get back into good counts and get ahead in certain at-bats,” Gil said. “It is something that has provided me another weapon when facing batters.”

Part of the consideration with Gil is that he would be on an innings limit. He made seven big league appearances in 2021-22, all starts. Gil said if he is not selected for the fifth starter’s job, he would be fine pitching out of the big league bullpen.

“I’m open to any opportunity I get to help this team,” Gil said.

Left feels right
handled his lone chance in left field flawlessly on Friday, securing Brett Baty’s third-inning flyout just shy of the warning track.

Judge has yet to play left field in a Major League game, though he did it seven times in 2016 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“Seamless play,” Boone said. “I thought he reacted to it the right way. He’s such a fundamentally sound outfielder, and that showed up right away. Judge plays the game slowed down, but with some quickness. That showed to me in left field today.”

Down Mexico way
Juan Soto has opted not to accompany the Yankees on their upcoming trip to Mexico City, with Boone saying on Friday that the outfielder would prefer to remain behind to use the club’s equipment at Steinbrenner Field.

“To be able to iron out his swing and be where he wants to be [using] the facility and the stuff we have here, I think it’s probably just best to keep him here,” Boone said.

Boone said that the roster remains fluid for the exhibitions, which will be played on Saturday and Sunday against the Diablos Rojos del México at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium.

Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Trevino, Alex Verdugo, Anthony Volpe and Victor Gonzalez are among the players believed to be traveling.

“It keeps changing daily,” Boone said.