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Yanks shore up roster after intriguing camp

Injury to Didi one of few challenges of club this spring
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- It required numerous conversations behind closed doors for the Yankees' 25-man roster to be hammered out, with general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi huddling repeatedly in the final week of camp to iron out unsettled decisions.

Twice this spring -- once in early February, once in mid-March -- MLB.com took a crack at predicting the 25-man roster that the Yankees will field on Opening Day this Sunday against the Rays at Tropicana Field. How'd we do? Well, there were some hits and some errors:

TAMPA, Fla. -- It required numerous conversations behind closed doors for the Yankees' 25-man roster to be hammered out, with general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi huddling repeatedly in the final week of camp to iron out unsettled decisions.

Twice this spring -- once in early February, once in mid-March -- MLB.com took a crack at predicting the 25-man roster that the Yankees will field on Opening Day this Sunday against the Rays at Tropicana Field. How'd we do? Well, there were some hits and some errors:

Starting pitchers (4): Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino. Our predictions nailed the first four starters, though we didn't guess that Sabathia would draw the second start of the year. In February, we had Chad Green as the No. 5 starter, but by March we'd flipped that to Bryan Mitchell. Turns out we won't know the answer until April 16.

Video: BOS@NYY: Mitchell fans Leon to retire the side

Bullpen (8): Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, Tyler Clippard, Tommy Layne, Jonathan Holder, Mitchell, Chasen Shreve, Adam Warren. The first four hurlers were locks, and we had Warren in the bullpen both times. The first draft in February had Luis Cessa and Mitchell working out of the 'pen. By March, we subbed Green and Ben Heller into the bullpen. Carrying eight relievers created an extra spot, and we were 0-for-2 on Holder and Shreve.

Video: BAL@NYY: Warren whiffs Tavarez for third strikeout

Catcher (2): Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine. Got it. There wasn't a whole lot of guesswork here, even though Kyle Higashioka drew praise in camp.

First baseman (2): Greg Bird and Chris Carter. Correct both times, even before Tyler Austin's injury. In February, we wondered if Girardi might platoon Bird and Carter. That was no longer a question by March.

Video: NYY@ATL: Bird slugs the first homer at SunTrust Park

Second baseman (1): Starlin Castro. Easy breezy.

Third baseman (1): Chase Headley. No surprise there either.

Shortstop (1): Ronald Torreyes. There was no way to predict Didi Gregorius' right shoulder injury, upgrading Torreyes from the utility infielder to the starting shortstop. Torreyes is going to play "a lot" in the first month, according to Girardi.

Video: NYY@PHI: Torreyes rips a two-run homer to left field

Utility (1): Pete Kozma. We had Torreyes here twice; Gregorius' injury happened the week after our March update. Kozma's defense gave him the edge over Rob Refsnyder, particularly his ability to play on the left side of the infield, while Tyler Wade has yet to play at Triple-A.

Outfield (4): Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge. The same four names appeared in both months, and we had Judge holding off Hicks to serve as the starting right fielder.

Designated hitter (1): Matt Holliday. That was simple, though anyone who says they knew he would do a great Zach Galifianakis impression this spring is lying.

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

New York Yankees