TAMPA, Fla. — Adam Warren may have earned himself a spot in the Yankees’ bullpen on Saturday. Unfortunately, he was trying to make the rotation.
Warren allowed four runs, including two home runs, in 3 1⁄3 innings in the Yankees’ 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field.
“I wasn’t very happy with it,” he said. “Felt like I beat myself a lot today getting behind in the count or not putting guys away. My stuff was pretty good. I just wasn’t throwing enough strikes when I needed to.”
Warren is battling for one of the two open rotation spots, but his versatility as a proven reliever always works against him. The Yankees often have chosen to stick the righthander in the bullpen after flirting with him as a starter, and that could happen again.
“I really want to be a starter,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been working for. I think I have a little bit of feelings towards that. But I’m happy to be in the bullpen. I like pitching out of the bullpen.”
Unlike the other candidates for the rotation, Warren is at least assured of being in the big leagues when the Yankees open the season next Sunday at Tampa Bay. He is out of minor-league options.
Warren, who has a 4.80 ERA in spring training, gave up four hits, walked two and struck out four. He allowed a two-run home run in the second inning by No. 9 batter Ryan Goins and a solo shot in the fourth by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That was Warren’s final batter.
“Couple mistakes cost him and us,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He was OK. He wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him.”
The Yankees have five exhibition games left. Bryan Mitchell will start on Sunday. Other candidates for the rotation are Luis Severino and long shots Jordan Montgomery and Chad Green.
The Yankees will not need a fifth starter until April 16, but they haven’t even settled on the fourth one yet.