TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees appear to have settled on carrying 13 pitchers to begin the regular season, with right-handers Domingo German and Jonathan Holder the leading candidates to crack the roster as the 13th pitcher in advance of the March 29 opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.Prior to
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees appear to have settled on carrying 13 pitchers to begin the regular season, with right-handers Domingo German and Jonathan Holder the leading candidates to crack the roster as the 13th pitcher in advance of the March 29 opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Prior to Wednesday's game against the Orioles, the Yankees announced that they optioned infielder/outfielder Christopher Austin, right-hander Giovanny Gallegos, right-hander Ben Heller and outfielder Billy McKinney to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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With Jacoby Ellsbury likely to begin the season on the disabled list, manager Aaron Boone had said the team did not necessarily have to add another outfielder to the roster, while mentioning the appeal of carrying an additional reliever.
German and Holder have been impressive this spring. The Yankees' No. 18 prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline, German has compiled a 2.84 ERA in five spring appearances (two starts). In 12 2/3 innings, the 25-year-old has permitted six runs (four earned) and 11 hits while walking six and striking out 15.
Holder, 24, had a 3.89 ERA in 37 big league appearances during his rookie campaign for New York in 2017. In seven spring appearances, Holder has built a 1.80 ERA, permitting two earned runs and 11 hits over 10 innings. He has walked none and struck out 11.
Boone said that the Yankees should have their roster set by the end of business on Saturday, when the team plays a pair of split-squad games against the Blue Jays and Braves.
"I think we have a good idea of the way we are going to start things, but we do want to let a couple of things still play out," Boone said. "I feel like we're pretty close."
Catcher Austin Romine, infielder Ronald Torreyes and either Tyler Wade or Neil Walker are expected to be on the bench for the season opener, with either Wade or Walker starting at second base.
Ellsbury is slated to return to action on Thursday, when the Yankees visit the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla. The 34-year-old outfielder has been sidelined since early March due to a strained right oblique and, more recently, a sore throat and fever that kept him out of workouts.
"I'm going to take advantage of the next week I've got," Ellsbury said. "I've been working hard while I haven't been playing. I've been tracking pitches and doing all those things I can, so I'm looking forward to this next week."
Ellsbury is expected to get two at-bats and play four innings in center field on Thursday. He has logged just 10 Grapefruit League at-bats this spring, and Boone has said that it would be "very unlikely" for Ellsbury to be ready in time for Opening Day.
"The goal is to get in the game as soon as possible," Ellsbury said. "I'm just looking forward to getting back on the field."
You're on the list
Boone found a unique way to tell Wade that he would be with the Yankees to begin the season. Wade's name was not listed on an initial invite list for the Tampa Bay Boys & Girls Club luncheon, which was held on Monday and is typically attended by all members of the 25-man roster.
Approaching Wade in the clubhouse, Boone asked if the 23-year-old would like to attend the luncheon. When Wade responded that he would, Boone replied, "Well, you're on the team." Wade said that his first call was to his parents, who plan to fly from California to attend the home opener on April 2.
"They were trying to figure out what they were going to do for Opening Day," Wade said. "It's a little tradition that my parents come out for the home Opening Day, wherever I'm at. They were anxious to see where they were going. I'm just happy I was able to call them."
Clint Frazier (concussion) took dry swings and did tee work on Tuesday and is continuing to be examined regularly by a neurologist, Boone said.
"It's something we're just being very cautious with, listening to the player a lot," Boone said. "All I can tell you is he continues to improve. We feel like some momentum is starting to build and hopefully the baseball activities start ramping up."
• It is "possible, but not likely" that Giancarlo Stanton would see any time in left field during the season-opening Blue Jays series, Boone said. Brett Gardner is expected to start all four games, including Opening Day.
• Torreyes strapped on the shin guards in the bullpen earlier this week, and Boone said that the utility infielder will serve as the Yankees' emergency catcher this season.
"He's a natural back there," Boone said. "He looks good. Nice low target. That's a Bob Boone target. Good hands, too."
Jordan Montgomery will make his fifth start of the spring on Thursday as the Yankees visit the Twins for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest in Fort Myers. The game can be seen on MLB.TV and ESPN2. Brandon Drury, Ellsbury, Torreyes and Wade are on the travel roster. Phil Hughes will start for Minnesota.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.