Yankees’ pitching-heavy Opening Day roster finalized

TAMPA — The Yankees have settled on their 28-man roster that they will take to The Bronx for Opening Day.

Super-utilityman Marwin Gonzalez along with pitchers Clarke Schmidt, JP Sears and Ron Marinaccio secured the final spots on the roster, manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday ahead of the Yankees’ Grapefruit League finale.

The Yankees will carry 16 pitchers and 12 position players through May 1 – rosters were expanded until then to accommodate for a shortened spring training because of the lockout – before having to trim down to 26, including a maximum of 13 pitchers.

The pitcher-heavy roster leaves the Yankees with just a three-man bench, but Boone pointed to Gonzalez’s ability to play all around the diamond, which should cover them during the opening weeks of the season.

Marwin Gonzalez gives the Yankees flexibility
USA TODAY Sports

“You’d always want better coverage everywhere, but also feel like just early on, gotta make sure we protect and build up the arms properly,” Boone said at Steinbrenner Field. “Having Marwin’s flexibility does allow us to give a guy a day in those first 10 days as we build position players as well.”

Gonzalez’s path to the roster became clear when the Yankees optioned Miguel Andujar and Tim Locastro to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier on Tuesday.

Since joining the Yankees in camp on a minor league deal – meaning they will have to make a move to add him to their 40-man roster – Gonzalez has had a solid spring offensively while starting games at first base, second base, shortstop and left field. The former Astro, who has had rough seasons at the plate in each of the last two years, entered Tuesday batting 8-for-22 with three home runs this spring.

Schmidt, who was named the winner of the James P. Dawson Award on Tuesday as the most outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training, will provide length out of the bullpen, having built up to 70-75 pitches.

Clarke Schmidt made the Yankees' Opening Day roster
Clarke Schmidt made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Po

Sears and Marinaccio, the latter a Toms River, NJ native, were both added to the 40-man roster during the offseason and then won bullpen jobs with their spring performances.

“I think us putting them on the 40-man was a good indicator of who we thought they were and where we thought they were,” Boone said. “Both of those guys very early on in camp, for myself not having seen them in person, I feel like have a really good makeup but have the stuff capable of allowing them to make this transition. Both have stood out in the right kind of way right away.”

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