TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The New York Yankees will carry 16 pitchers and three bench players on their opening-day roster Thursday against the Boston Red Sox, according to manager Aaron Boone.
Switch-hitting utilityman Marwin González will play a key role off the shortened bench.
“Marwin’s versatility gives up pretty good coverage everywhere,” Boone said before an exhibition Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers. “Just early on, got to make sure we protect and build up the arms properly. We’ll make it work, and if we have to change on the fly a little bit, we’ll do that.”
Right-handers Clarke Schmidt and Ron Marinaccio and lefty JP Sears also earned roster spots.
Teams are allowed to carry 28 players during April due to the shortened spring training.
Boone said the Yankees are planning to return to 13 pitchers and four position reserves when the expanded rosters end May 1.
The Yankees signed first baseman Greg Bird to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Bird was with New York from 2015-19 but had his career derailed by injures. He opted out of his contract with the Toronto Blue Jays after hitting .261 with two homers and six RBIs during spring training,
The 29-year-old played in Triple-A for Colorado last season, hitting .267 with 27 home runs and 91 RBIs.
“He can hit,” Boone said. “Health has always been the issue for him, but I don’t think anyone has ever doubted his potential and what he could be as a big league hitter. Get another talented guy that appears to be healthy.”
The Yankees optioned infielder-outfielder Miguel Andújar and outfielder Tim Locastro to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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