LAKELAND, Fla. — Aaron Boone took any remaining drama out of Tyler Wade’s roster status as spring training comes to a close.
“Wade’s going to be on the team,” Boone said after the Yankees’ 8-3 loss Tuesday to the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium, a game in which Wade went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple.
That the 23-year-old Wade will be part of the 25-man roster when it breaks camp Sunday night isn’t a complete shock, though after the Yankees signed second baseman Neil Walker last week there was some thought Wade could get squeezed out.
But all along it seemed as if the versatile Wade, whose play has been solid and sometimes spectacular throughout the Grapefruit League season, would have a role somewhere.
“I think we feel like we’ve got good options every day,” Boone said of what he’ll do at second base. “I keep talking to you guys about matchups and I feel like with him and Walk there’s going to be plenty of at-bats there.”
Boone mentioned the “versatility” each player brings: Wade being able to play third and the switch-hitting Walker first.
“I hope Wade continues to play well so we feel like we have good decisions every day based on what we’re looking at from a matchup standpoint,” Boone said.
Wade likely won’t be in the Opening Day lineup at second against the Blue Jays with Toronto announcing lefthander J.A. Happ as the starter, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get reps, and more than a few, at second as the season moves along.
“I wouldn’t necessarily anoint either one of them [as the starter],” Boone said. “I feel like it’s going to be a daily thing where those guys will be getting regular playing time all the time, and I just think their skill sets complement each other.”
Wade, meanwhile, has done everything asked of him this spring. He’s 12-for-38 (.316) with three doubles and a triple, and he has excelled in the field, mostly at second and in his brief time at third. The defense was expected as he looked more than comfortable in 30 big-league games last year at second, short, left and right. At the plate was another matter as he hit .155 with a .222 on-base percentage.
“I’m just trying to be consistent,” Wade said Tuesday, speaking before Boone said he would be on the roster. “That’s the name of the game, and for me it’s coming in each and every day and making sure my at-bats are consistent and my defense is consistent. I feel like that will translate well to the regular season.”
While Wade had emerged as the front-runner in the second- base competition before the 32-year-old Walker signed, he expressed no anger at the time, saying nothing would change in his approach. In fact, the two sought each other out rather quickly in the clubhouse.
“We talked,” Wade said. “[It was] ‘Hey, we’re in this together. We’re both going to help this team win a championship.’ ”