3/28/2014 11:11 P.M. ET
Betances, Nuno rewarded with spots on 25-man roster
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have informed right-hander Dellin Betances and left-hander Vidal Nuno that they are on the club's 25-man roster to begin the season, rounding out the last of their bullpen decisions.
The hard-throwing Betances posted an 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 spring innings, while Nuno had a 3.38 mark in eight spring innings, transitioning to the bullpen after competing for the Yankees' fifth starter vacancy.
"We liked the camps that they had," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Betances had a great camp. We think Nuno gives us a lot of flexibility as far as a second left-hander, but also a guy that can give you some innings if you bring him in to face a left, right, left. He'll give you a couple of innings."
The Yankees still need to finalize one backup infield spot after telling Dean Anna that he made the club on Friday. They are continuing to discuss how to decide the remaining spot between Eduardo Nunez and non-roster invitee Yangervis Solarte.
Betances and Nuno will join the mix leading to closer David Robertson. Left-hander Matt Thornton and right-hander Shawn Kelley were considered early locks for the bullpen, and fifth starter runners-up David Phelps and Adam Warren are also beginning the year in relief.
"Our bullpen has some flexibility because three guys can really give you some good distance," Girardi said, referring to Phelps, Warren and Nuno.
Betances, 26, made eight previous big league appearances (one start) with the Yankees in 2011 and '13. Once a top starting pitching prospect, Betances was converted into a full-time reliever last season.
"I did what I had to do. I felt like I earned my spot," Betances said. "Now it's just competing and trying to help the team as much as I can."
Nuno, 26, was 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five games (three starts) with New York last season. Once property of the Indians' organization, Nuno had a stint in independent ball before latching on with the Yankees.
"I can sleep a little bit better now, just knowing that I'm heading to Houston and then New York," Nuno said. "It's just a long journey. I'm just really happy, really thrilled about how I got the news. Now it's back to work."
The team also gave serious consideration to left-hander Cesar Cabral, who threw 9 1/3 scoreless innings this spring, but the club's early schedule played a part in the decision to leave Cabral off the roster.
"We play 13 games in a row to get out of the gate," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I think taking our best pitching going north -- the fact that we're playing 13 games in a row, Nuno can give you length as well as that he's left-handed. That gave him a leg up."
Anna makes roster; Nunez, Solarte up in air
TAMPA, Fla. -- The final roster spot in Yankees camp will come down to the last day of the spring, as utility infielders Eduardo Nunez and Yangervis Solarte have both been told not to pack for the trip to Houston.
Dean Anna was told that he has secured a spot on the roster, and the Yankees view Anna as the replacement for infielder Brendan Ryan, who will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. That decision leaves Nunez and Solarte in limbo for one more night.
"Weird, a situation like that," Nunez said. "It's kind of weird, you know? You don't know where you're going on the last day of Spring Training. They said it's still up in the air."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he had "nothing else to really report" about the situation with Nunez and Solarte. Nunez has played in 270 games for the Yankees over the last four years, while Solarte batted .429 this spring as a non-roster invitee.
Technically, the Yankees have until 3 p.m. ET on Sunday to finalize their Opening Day roster. Girardi did confirm that Anna made the roster, news that was first revealed via Twitter by Jedd Gyorko, one of Anna's former Padres teammates.
"He gives you a ton of flexibility," Girardi said. "With Brendan Ryan out, he played a very good shortstop for us. He's a left-handed bat, so if we give [Derek Jeter] a day off, it'll probably be against a right-hander. He fits the mold."
Girardi said that he would also feel comfortable playing Anna at second or third base. Anna, 27, led the Pacific Coast League in hitting last year with a .331 average for Triple-A Tucson and would be making his big league debut with New York.
"I really feel a little numb more than anything right now," Anna said. "I think maybe Opening Day, that's when I'll start to feel what I feel. Everyone else is really excited for me, but it really just feels like another day right now -- which is kind of a weird feeling, really."
Ellsbury expects to be in Opening Day lineup
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury played six innings of a Minor League game in center field on Friday, going 2-for-5 with an infield single, and said that he expects to be ready to be in the Opening Day lineup.
"I felt pretty good," Ellsbury said. "I played it like a normal game, busting it out of the box. I played like I normally would."
General manager Brian Cashman said that the Yankees could have played Ellsbury against the Marlins on Friday, but decided to have Ellsbury play in a 10 a.m. ET game because of weather concerns.
Ellsbury hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 due to a sore right calf. Saturday's forecast is threatening, but the Yankees believe Ellsbury could play in the 1:05 p.m. ET game (watch free on MLB.TV) against the Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"I'm pretty confident that he's through this, but we'll just wait and see," manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi has given some thought to what he would do with his early-season lineups if Ellsbury is not available.
"I might move Brett [Gardner] over, and I could put Ich [Suzuki] in left. There's a lot of different things I could do," Girardi said. "Might be a situation where I put [Alfonso] Soriano in left for a day and put Ich in right and DH [Carlos] Beltran. We thought it was important that Brett got a lot of reps in left field."
Teixeira addresses bad habit, encouraged by health
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Teixeira said that he had been protecting his surgically repaired right wrist and not taking his most powerful cuts at the plate this spring, but a sit-down with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has addressed the problem.
"It was something I didn't know I was doing," Teixeira said. "Kevin and I have, over the last week, we've been really trying to work on me taking my full swing. What I noticed in game film from Spring Training, I was protecting my swing the way I was doing last year when I was hurt. I think it's just bad habits that I got into last year."
Teixeira said that, when batting left-handed, he was taking his left hand off the bat in mid-swing to protect his right wrist -- doing it in games as well as in batting practice.
Long and manager Joe Girardi were encouraged that Teixeira -- who was batting .091 (3-for-33) this spring, heading into Friday night's game against the Marlins -- seemed to start taking better swings on Thursday against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.
"We all needed to see that," Long said. "You want these guys going into the season feeling good about their swing and what they're doing, how the ball is coming off the bat. For everybody; Tex certainly, and Joe wanted to see it, I wanted to see it as well. We got positive feedback."
Teixeira said that despite his lackluster spring numbers, he has been encouraged by making it through the spring healthy.
"I've been hitting some nice line drives, but those line drives I need to get under and hit for home runs," Teixeira said. "That'll come with just getting stronger as the season goes on. No one can predict what the season's going to give you, but what I do know is that through six weeks of Spring Training, I'm healthy. And that's a really good sign."
Teixeira also said that he believes his usual target goals of 30 home runs and 100 RBIs can be in play.
"My thing has been, since early in my career, if I'm on the field, that's what I'm going to do," Teixeira said. "So I need to be on the field for 162 games. We talked about my plan this whole spring, it was to get my body in position to play 150-plus games. The way I feel today, I'm confident that I can do that."
Yankees bring back Aceves on Minors deal
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have signed right-hander Alfredo Aceves, a member of the club's 2009 World Series championship roster, to a Minor League contract.
Aceves, 31, opted out of his deal with the Orioles earlier on Friday after being told that he would not make the big league roster.
Aceves will report to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as a starting pitcher, providing the organization with extra depth at that level after the Yanks named David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno to the Opening Day roster.
After beginning his big league career with the Yankees in 2008, Aceves spent the last three seasons with the Red Sox. He was 4-1 with a 4.86 ERA in 11 games (six starts) for Boston in 2013.
• Michael Pineda will not be on the team's charter flight to Houston; the right-hander is scheduled to stay back and pitch in a Minor League or intrasquad game on Sunday morning. Pineda's first Yankees start is scheduled for April 5 in Toronto.
• Yankees infielder Brendan Ryan (pinched nerve in upper back) will not be ready to be activated when eligible on April 5. Ryan will begin the year on the disabled list, retroactive to March 21, and Cashman indicated that he will need longer than 15 days.
"He hasn't done anything, and he only had [nine] plate appearances before he got hurt," Cashman said. "That doesn't count, because it was so long ago. He's going to have to start from scratch."