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Yankees set roster for ALDS vs. Twins

Boone confident in Voit off bench; Lyons takes CC's place among relievers
@BryanHoch
October 4, 2019

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have set their 25-man roster for the American League Division Series against the Twins, which will begin on Friday at 7:07 p.m. ET on the field at Yankee Stadium. While manager Aaron Boone said on Thursday that most of the difficult decisions had already been

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have set their 25-man roster for the American League Division Series against the Twins, which will begin on Friday at 7:07 p.m. ET on the field at Yankee Stadium.

While manager Aaron Boone said on Thursday that most of the difficult decisions had already been made in his mind, the Yankees believed there was some strategic advantage in not revealing the roster until absolutely necessary -- a theory that the Twins subscribed to as well. Rosters were due to Major League Baseball by 10 a.m. ET on Friday.

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“I would say everything matters, and everything factors into trying to put what we think is the best people and the best positions to succeed,” Boone said. “We're trying to make evaluations and judgments about what gives us the best chance to win Game 1 against the Twins and beyond that.”

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Here is the breakdown of the Yankees’ 25-man roster, including analysis on how the picture developed since our first roster prediction story went live on Sept. 2:

Catchers (2): Austin Romine, Gary Sánchez

What changed: Sánchez returned from a left groin strain during the final series of the regular season and caught twice, including six innings on Sunday, which gave the Yankees confidence that he is ready to serve as their starting catcher during the ALDS. Romine provides a capable understudy.

Infielders (7): Edwin Encarnacion, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, Tyler Wade

What changed: The main questions leading up to Friday’s announcement concerned Voit, who finished the year in a 1-for-30 skid. Boone and the Yanks’ decision-makers have faith that Voit will be able to serve as a threat off the bench, despite his offensive numbers having dipped since sustaining a sports hernia in late June.

“Looking at it from an off-the-bench situation, there's not a lot of our righties that I would hit for,” Boone said. “[Twins left-hander Taylor] Rogers is their one guy that's a … pretty tough guy against lefties, so I feel like Voit's a potential bullet there against him. I feel like there's still something in there for Luke.”

Encarnacion has not played since Sept. 12 due to a left oblique strain, but he cleared all necessary checkpoints in order to be ready for the ALDS. Boone envisions using Encarnacion as the designated hitter, with duty at first base appearing unlikely in the postseason. Wade’s inclusion offers speed and defensive versatility off the bench.

Outfielders (4): Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Cameron Maybin, Giancarlo Stanton

What changed: The Yanks’ defensive alignment appears set, as Stanton was able to return from the injured list and showed no limitations in left field. He’ll likely play there, with Gardner manning center field and Judge handling right field. Maybin provides the ability to back up at all three positions. Mike Tauchman was on our original roster, but he sustained a left calf strain on Sept. 8 and is likely unavailable for the entire postseason. Clint Frazier was left off the roster.

Starting pitchers (3): James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka

What changed: Boone announced on Thursday that the Yankees would start Paxton, Tanaka and Severino, in that order, through the first three games of the ALDS. Our original projection included Domingo German, who is unavailable through the World Series due to an ongoing MLB investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident.

Relief pitchers (9): Zack Britton, Luis Cessa, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, J.A. Happ, Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tyler Lyons, Adam Ottavino

What changed: Thursday’s announcement that CC Sabathia would not appear on the ALDS roster due to a left shoulder injury altered the landscape, as it was anticipated the veteran would be used as a situational reliever. That opened the door for Lyons to make the club; Lyons passed his final audition during the Rangers series, extinguishing a two-on, one-out jam in Arlington.

“I've seen a lot of bad swings from lefties against him,” Boone said. “Some good left-handed hitters didn't see some of his pitches real well. I feel like there are some spots where, maybe a batter situation or two-batter situation, where he could do a nice job for us.”

Boone revealed that left-hander Stephen Tarpley -- who made last year’s ALDS roster as a situational reliever -- has been dealing with an illness. That also contributed to Lyons’ inclusion. Our original Sept. 2 roster also had Dellin Betances in the bullpen, but his season is done due to a partially torn left Achilles tendon.

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