WASHINGTON - The Yankees closed out their 25-man roster for Opening Day by choosing John Ryan Murphy over Austin Romine for the backup catcher position Saturday.
Romine was designated for assignment and infielder Gregorio Petit was added to the roster. Romine was out of options and could not have been sent to the minors without passing through waivers.
"It's a hard decision,'' manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously, from a selfish standpoint, we hope that we get a chance to keep him [in Triple-A]. But we're not sure. There could be another club that puts him in the big leagues.''
Murphy hit .238 and Romine hit .171 in spring training.
"I think Murph had a better spring,'' Girardi said. "Was up last year and did a good job.''
The Yankees are going into the season without a designated closer, and Girardi gave a possible hint at how he will handle his top two relievers in a 4-3 victory over the Nationals in the exhibition finale.
With the Yankees holding a one-run lead, Girardi called on lefthander Andrew Miller for the eighth inning and Dellin Betances in the ninth. Given the nature of exhibition games, though, he likely had the order scripted regardless of whom each reliever would face. During the season, he might choose his late-inning relievers based on matchups.
"I think in a lot of ways, that's the way you manage the sixth through the eighth anyway,'' Girardi said. "So now you're managing the sixth through the ninth that way.''
Each man pitched a scoreless inning, with Betances picking up his first save of a rocky spring training.
"I can take some positives from today,'' said Betances, who allowed a hit and a walk but struck out the side to lower his ERA to 5.40. "Obviously, spring was rough, but to finish off the way I did today, I'll take it. I'll be ready for the season.''
Miller finished spring training with a 2.25 ERA.
Eovaldi goes five
In his final tuneup, Nathan Eovaldi allowed three first-inning runs and pitched scoreless ball for the next four innings. Eovaldi gave up four hits, walked three and struck out six. His ERA was 1.93.
Stephen Drew and Chris Young each hit a two-run homer. With three homers each, Drew and Young finished tied for the team lead with Alex Rodriguez and Chase Headley.
The Yankees went 17-16-1 in exhibition play.
Girardi previewed the lineup he likely will use in the opener: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Headley, Rodriguez, Drew and Didi Gregorius.