DUNEDIN, Fla. - Joe Girardi said he isn't in a hurry to figure out the late-inning order in his bullpen, saying it is "not one of my pressing decisions'' at this point of spring training.
Figuring out who will be his fifth starter, Girardi said before his team's 1-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.
With lefthander Chris Capuano, who was expected to be the No. 5 starter coming out of camp, expected to miss the beginning of the season with a Grade 2 quadriceps strain, Girardi is likely to choose his replacement from the trio of Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers and Chase Whitley.
Girardi felt Warren pitched "better'' than his final line -- two runs and four hits in three innings -- indicated Friday night in Fort Myers against the Red Sox. Rogers was decent in his second exhibition start Saturday, allowing no runs and four hits in three innings.
"As I've said, I don't think it's fair to evaluate them until they're built up,'' Girardi said. "I think the next start, you start paying attention because they're up to maybe 75 pitches. But we're still trying to build them up.''
Rogers has impressed Girardi. He did some work in the offseason with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and one adjustment they made is that when he winds up, he no longer brings his hands over his head. Instead, Rogers keeps the glove in front of him, similar to Masahiro Tanaka.
"I try to keep my glove in one spot and not move it when I'm going from the windup,'' Rogers said. "I think it gives me better command.''
Rogers and Warren were in the bullpen last season, and if neither wins the fifth starter job, each figures to be back there.
Warren developed into a late-inning bullpen standout last season but was told to prepare as a starter, as was Rogers. The uncertainty surrounding them has kept Girardi from determining bullpen roles.
"I think it's affected by possibly losing someone out of your bullpen to a starting role,'' said Girardi, who would like to have the No. 5 spot figured out by March 28. "We have to figure that out first, then we have to put the rest [of the bullpen] together.''
Ryan on field
Brendan Ryan, out most of spring training with a back injury, has started taking grounders. "He's making progress,'' Girardi said.
Ryan said Friday that his hope is to get in a game by the end of this week. "Hopefully,'' Girardi said. "We need to get him in there.''
Leader in the room
Girardi said he's noticed Michael Pineda, 26, taking on a mentoring role with some of the young players in camp.
"I see him relate extremely well to everyone in the clubhouse. I see him have young kids around him that he's helping out,'' Girardi said. "He's still young, but he's taken more of a leadership role.''
Girardi said Eddy Rodriguez, a non-roster invitee who started Saturday's game in Dunedin, had a good day.
"He did a really nice job,'' Girardi said. "He can catch. We know that.''
Rodriguez, 29, has been mostly a career minor-leaguer, last playing in the major leagues in 2012 with the Padres.