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Yankees generally healthy as spring training ends; Brian Cashman pleased with rotation

Yankees GM Brian Cashman during spring training at

Yankees GM Brian Cashman during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa Fla., on Feb. 24. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

TAMPA, Fla. — Could have been worse.

Much worse, considering the recent history of the Yankees and injuries and past spring trainings (not to mention regular seasons).

And so, even with the mid-spring training injury to Zack Britton — which likely will keep the reliever, who had a bone chip removed from his left elbow, out until at least June — and the late setback with Luke Voit’s meniscus tear, which was slated to be repaired Monday night in New York and will cost the first baseman at least a month, call Yankees spring training 2021 a success.

Especially considering all the physical concerns going into it relating to everyone in the rotation not named Gerrit Cole.

"Rotation's in a good spot right now," general manager Brian Cashman said Monday, a reference to Corey Kluber, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon. "You know, we're starting with the group I think you would have expected us to be starting [with]. They all got their work in and are ready to be deployed."

Cashman did say lefthanded reliever Justin Wilson, out for the last week of camp with shoulder tightness, will start the season on the injured list but that the stint will be backdated, likely meaning a shorter time away.

"In terms of how he's feeling and how he's responded to the downtime, everything's checking out, which is good," Cashman said of Wilson, who began his throwing program late last week. "And hopefully that continues as he finishes off [his rehab]."

Cashman disclosed that 25 players for the Opening Day roster had been determined, with Tyler Wade and righthanders Mike King and Nick Nelson among those making the club out of camp. The last player to be determined, he said, is who will take Wilson's spot.

The overwhelming expectation among the opposing team scouts who followed the Yankees throughout spring training is that it could go to lefty Lucas Luetge, a non-roster invitee who was lights out (two runs, eight hits, two walks and 18 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings), but to put the 34-year-old on the active roster, the Yankees would have to create space on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees, who flew home late Monday night and will be off Tuesday before holding a workout at the Stadium on Wednesday, will open the season Thursday afternoon at home against Toronto with Cole on the mound.

"Despite everything that’s going on, we leave Tampa I think in a pretty good shape," Cashman said. "Not with everybody we want to leave with, but that’s true of everybody in any camp, and we’re excited to start the major league season. And I know everybody's excited to get fans back into the stands throughout the country. It's an exciting time for the country to be opening back up again finally, and every week is better news, which is great."

And there are great expectations, as always, for the Yankees, who have not reached the World Series since they won it in 2009.

"I feel like we’re ready to go," said Aaron Boone, who is in his fourth year as manager. "I think we’re all like-minded that we want to be a championship team. We understand there’s a lot of baseball to be played to hopefully have that opportunity to play for that at the end of the year. I just want us to be in the right mindset as we get ready to take on the grueling challenge of the 162-game season. I feel confident that we’re cut out for it and ready for it."

New York Sports