ANAHEIM, Calif. — There just wasn’t room.
The Yankees on Monday officially released Gio Gonzalez from the minor-league deal he signed toward the end of spring training, making the lefthander a free agent.
“He has no interest in being a reliever and I don’t have a starting spot for him,” general manager Brian Cashman said during an interview Monday afternoon on WFAN with Mike Francesa.
Gonzalez, who had an April 20 out clause in the contract — which he exercised — if he wasn’t on the 25-man roster, was 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The 33-year-old was very good in his last two starts after getting lit up for eight runs in four innings in his first start April 5. Gonzalez, whose contract called for him to be paid $3 million if he was put on the big-league roster, with plenty of incentives that could have added to that total, struck out 19 and walked six in 15 innings.
When Gonzalez agreed to the minor-league deal March 18, it already had been determined that CC Sabathia and Luis Severino were going to start the season on the injured list, and it seemed a sure thing he’d be up before April 20. But Sabathia has been solid in his two starts since being activated and Domingo German, a 26-year-old righthander whom the Yankees like and want to see more of, has pitched well.
“He [Gonzalez] was starter insurance for us, and when that insurance policy was expiring [April 20], we couldn’t cash in on it because I didn’t have a starting spot for him,” Cashman said.
The Yankees had intended to tweak their rotation this week by calling up Jonathan Loaisiga to start Tuesday and pushing the rest of the starters back a day to give them extra rest. But after back-to-back extra-inning games, including Monday night’s 4-3 victory over the Angels in 14 innings, Aaron Boone said the Yankees will stay in rotation. German will start Tuesday, followed by Sabathia on Wednesday and Masahiro Tanaka on Thursday. Boone said Loaisiga still will be recalled on Tuesday as bullpen insurance and that Joe Harvey will be optioned.