CLEARWATER, Fla. — Joe Girardi typically does not make roster announcements this early in spring training, other than those that are obvious.
And to Girardi, Adam Warren falls into that category.
“Adam’s going to be somewhere,” Girardi said Saturday morning. “I don’t know exactly where it’s going to be, but he’s going to be somewhere.”
Warren, 30, who is in the five-man competition for the last two spots in the rotation, made his first start Saturday, throwing two perfect innings in a 6-5 loss to the Phillies.
Warren has had success as both a starter and reliever, most recently with the Yankees in 2015, when he went 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA in 17 starts and posted a 2.29 ERA in 26 relief appearances.
The righthander, sent to the Cubs before last season in the Starlin Castro trade but brought back at the trade deadline when the Yankees sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago, said that 2015 experience solidified his preference.
“I figured out I really want to start,” Warren said. “I really enjoyed seeing hitters multiple times, working through a game, throwing 100 pitches, going deep. I still love pitching in general, I’m not unhappy in the bullpen, but I like starting a little bit more.”
Warren was so successful in the bullpen swingman role in 2015, however, that he very well might end up back in it this season, regardless of how he pitches in spring training. Especially given how the Yankees struggled to fill that role throughout 2016.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild hinted at that in a recent conversation.
“Yeah, I talked to Larry about that the other day,” Warren said with a smile. “He said, ‘It’s probably going to hurt you, you’re good out of the bullpen, you’re flexible.’ I was like, ‘I know.’ But maybe I can pitch well enough to make them put me in the rotation. But I do know that’s going to hurt me. I guess that’s a good thing as well.”
Not so fast, Girardi said.
“I don’t necessarily view it that way,” he said after Saturday’s game. “I think you have to take a long look at it and decide what’s best in the long run for this year. What gives us the best chance to win.”
Don’t sleep on Higgy
Girardi said the backup catcher’s job isn’t necessarily guaranteed to go to Austin Romine, who performed well in the role much of last season. Kyle Higashioka — who has been in the organization since 2008, when he was a seventh-round pick, and finally seemed to blossom last year when he hit a combined 21 homers between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre — is in the mix, too.
“He’s really put himself on the radar,” Girardi said. “He’s going to catch in the big leagues, too. At some point, I really believe, he’s going to be a big-league player.”
Higashioka, who did not travel to Clearwater, homered in Friday’s exhibition opener after replacing Gary Sanchez. Romine started Saturday and went 0-for-3.
Headley: no worries
Chase Headley worked out in Tampa but didn’t throw to bases. Afterward, he told reporters that isn’t unusual for him, because he has experienced arm fatigue several times during spring training as he builds up strength. He said he expects to be in the lineup Sunday against Detroit.
An opposing team scout said Luis Cessa, one of the five pitchers competing for two rotation spots, hit 97 with his fastball Friday when he threw two perfect innings.
The Yankees will have their annual meeting with the Players Association early Sunday morning. The MLBPA speaks at every camp during spring training . . . Ben Heller, one of the four prospects acquired from Cleveland in the Andrew Miller trade, struck out the side in the seventh inning.