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Judge named Yanks' Opening Day right fielder

Severino claims No. 4 spot in rotation; bullpen takes shape
MLB.com @BryanHoch

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The heavy door to the George M. Steinbrenner Field manager's office swung open at 10:07 a.m. ET on Thursday, and with that, the Yankees were finally prepared to announce the 25-man roster that they will submit in advance of Sunday's season opener against the Rays.

Aaron Judge, who is ranked No. 4 on the Yankees' Top 30 Prospects list, was selected as the Opening Day right fielder and Luis Severino has grabbed the No. 4 rotation spot, according to manager Joe Girardi, who said the high level of competition made it difficult for team brass to hammer out the final calls of the spring.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The heavy door to the George M. Steinbrenner Field manager's office swung open at 10:07 a.m. ET on Thursday, and with that, the Yankees were finally prepared to announce the 25-man roster that they will submit in advance of Sunday's season opener against the Rays.

Aaron Judge, who is ranked No. 4 on the Yankees' Top 30 Prospects list, was selected as the Opening Day right fielder and Luis Severino has grabbed the No. 4 rotation spot, according to manager Joe Girardi, who said the high level of competition made it difficult for team brass to hammer out the final calls of the spring.

"Nothing really changes," said Judge, who had an RBI single in Thursday's 14-1 win over the Phillies. "Now the real work starts about trying to keep it. It's great, but I've just got to go out there and work."

The decision between Judge and Aaron Hicks went down to the wire, with Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman meeting again late on Wednesday to discuss. Judge hit .345/.406/.569 with three homers and six RBIs in 23 games, while Hicks hit .264/.361/.528 with three homers and seven RBIs in 23 games.

"[Judge] had more consistent at-bats," Girardi said. "There were less strikeouts, better contact, more consistent contact. If you look at his last week to 10 days, it was better than before, and you're facing better pitching."

Hicks will be used as a reserve at all three outfield positions, reprising the role he filled last season. Girardi said Hicks will have opportunities to play against left-handers, hopefully more than once a week.

"My whole mindset is that I wanted to be the starting right fielder," Hicks said. "Now, I've got to figure out a routine to make sure I'm prepared for the games that I'm going to play."

Ronald Torreyes will be the Opening Day shortstop, starting in place of the injured Didi Gregorius. Pete Kozma has made the club as a utility infielder, with Rob Refsnyder having been optioned to Triple-A. Girardi said the Yankees did not want to displace Starlin Castro from second base.

Severino's solid spring start on Thursday, thus became a formality. Backed by a nine-run first inning, Severino hurled five innings of one-run ball to complete his spring with a 3.38 ERA in 18 2/3 innings.

"I thought Sevvy's numbers were among some of the best, so he will be our fourth starter," Girardi said. "In saying that, he needs to grab this and run with it."

New York will carry eight relievers to start the season, with its fifth-starter competition continuing in the Minors. Jonathan Holder, Bryan Mitchell and Chasen Shreve will join a bullpen anchored by Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren and Tommy Layne.

The Yanks do not need a fifth starter until April 16 against the Cardinals. Girardi said that Chad Green will begin the season at Double-A Trenton so he can pitch on April 6 and April 11, while Jordan Montgomery will pitch the same dates for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"I think we have a strong bullpen, and I think it's going to be important for us," Girardi said. "We have two guys [in Mitchell and Warren] that can give us really multiple innings, can pitch the fifth through the ninth if they needed to, keep it close. I like the combination of our bullpen and I think there's some really good options for us and arms in Triple-A, too."

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino