Cessa tabbed to start Yanks' spring slate
German, Montgomery and Gray follow; Judge, Sanchez and Gardner will sit out opener
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees manager Aaron Boone set his rotation for the first four games of the Grapefruit League season.
Right-hander Luis Cessa will face the Tigers in Friday's home opener at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Righty Domingo German will get the nod against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday. Lefty Jordan Montgomery will take the hill against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., on Sunday, followed by righty Sonny Gray facing the Phils at home on Monday night.
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Boone said that he is trying to stretch out several extra pitchers this spring in order to build up some rotation depth.
"We are trying to get these guys ready to be a significant part of our club, so we'll take it slow with all of our pitchers and build a stable of starters," Boone said. "Hopefully give us depth beyond our first five and hopefully by the end of camp we are feeling good about being nine or whatever guys deep."
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Boone did not say when Masahiro Tanaka, Carsten Sabathia and Luis Severino would make their spring debuts, instead leaving the decision to pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
"I would say shortly thereafter, but that is something Larry is working through," he said.
Spring opener absences
Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge will not be in the starting lineup for the Grapefruit League opener.
"With Gardy, we are just slow playing it a bit," Boone said. "With Gary, we are monitoring his workload a bit. He's been doing a lot down here, so we'll probably hold him out a couple days."
Boone said it would likely be within a week when Judge sees game action. The reigning American League Rookie of the Year Award winner is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, but is on track to be healthy for the regular season.
"It's fluid," Boone said. "We are communicating every day. I think he is in a really good place, physically, and in a lot of ways, he's raring to go. We're just going to be real cautious with it."
Still looking for arms
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he likes a lot of the pitchers he sees on the market, but he doesn't like their price tags.
Cashman said that adding another piece to the rotation was a possibility, as long as it made financial sense when it comes to getting under the luxury tax threshold.
"We are trying to attack places that are potential weaknesses or are weaknesses," Cashman said. "I think our pitching side is pretty strong and obviously we want it to stay healthy, but we will evaluate the pitching available regardless. It's been our stated goal to add a starter. There's a reason we haven't done it and it isn't because we don't have an interest."