TAMPA, Fla. — Joe Girardi made it official, though he had already strongly hinted at the move Saturday.
Bryan Mitchell, who has been electric all spring training, will be with the Yankees to start the regular season, all but certainly out of the bullpen.
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“He’s a guy that’s pitched extremely well,” Girardi said after Tuesday’s 5-4 victory over the Pirates. “He’s going to be with us one way or the other.”
Mitchell, 24, has dazzled the Yankees and opposing team talent evaluators alike, posting a 0.61 ERA in five appearances. Three of them have been starts but the Yankees’ plan is for Mitchell to occupy the swing man role, executed so well last season by Adam Warren, who was traded in the offseason to the Cubs in the Starlin Castro deal.
“He’s pitched well enough to maybe get that shot,” Girardi said of the fifth starter job, a competition between CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. “But the likelihood is he’ll be out of the bullpen.
Mitchell, on three days’ rest, will make his final appearance Wednesday in Lake Buena Vista against the Braves.
Girardi said no other roster decisions have been made, though he hopes to have them all done by Thursday. The Yankees conclude their preseason with a two-game series in Miami on Friday and Saturday.
Austin Romine seems to have secured the backup catcher job, though Girardi said Carlos Corporan, who has an opt-out clause he hasn’t yet triggered, according to general manager Brian Cashman, is still in the competition.
“We continue to evaluate,” Girardi said.
Additionally, there are five pitchers competing for two open bullpen spots, though righthander Nick Goody, a long shot to begin with, likely took himself out of contention with a second straight rough outing Monday. Goody allowed two runs to balloon his ERA to 7.45 in 10 outings. Righty Johnny Barbato (1.74 Grapefruit ERA) is still in the mix, along with Luis Cessa (2.70), Brandon Pinder (1.42) and Kirby Yates (0.00).