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Making the Team Meter: Yankees' Spring Training Pitchers - Week Four

Examining where players without guaranteed spots on the Yankees' Opening Day roster stand in their quest to make the team after three weeks of Spring Training. Hat tip to our SBN sister site, Talking Chop, for the inspiration.

He ain't makin' this team
He ain't makin' this team

Mark Montgomery and Chase Whitley have been cut, so the competition has been noticeably thin. It looked like Boone Logan might miss some time with an elbow injury, but he has recently returned to the mound and seems to be healthy. Clay Rapada is still shelved and will likely start the season on the disabled list. There are eight relievers left in camp and only one of them can make the team and that all depends on the handedness the Yankees intend to employ.

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The right handers that have a shot to make the team consist of Cody Eppley, Shawn Kelley, and Jim Miller. Eppley has been an absolute train wreck, giving up 9 ER on 13 hits in only 6.2 IP this spring, but chances are he's still viewed as the favorite to open the season. Kelley has not been as bad and would definitely represent an upgrade, however, Jim Miller has been the most effective, having given up only one run, but he's certainly the long shot of the group.

If the Yankees want another lefty in the pen it will likely come down to Vidal Nuno and Josh Spence. While he's never pitched in Triple-A before, Nuno has really impressed this spring. He has 13 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched and has only given up one run all spring. He pitched five innings against the Red Sox where he gave up two hits, a walk and collected a strikeout. If Phil Hughes needs to start the season on the Disabled List, David Phelps can take his spot in the rotation and Nuno could slide into the long reliever role. Josh Spence has the most major league experience out of any of the lefties and could be considered more trustworthy to get the job. He has posted a 1.73 ERA with five strikeouts in 7.2 innings pitched.

Red: Based on performance or situation, this player has a slim to no chance of making the team.
Yellow: Player theoretically could make the team with an overwhelming performance or unexpected development.
Chartreuse: Player has a decent chance of making the team if they can beat out their immediate competition.
Green: Player is in a very favorable situation for making the team. Likely seen as the favorite for an open job.

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The players that are not likely to be considered for the final bullpen spot are lefty Juan Cedeno and righties Preston Claiborne and Branden Pinder. Cedeno has seen very limited action and has gotten very little attention, while his direct competition has got a more serious look. In a bubble, Claiborne could make the team, however his lack of Triple-A experience makes him an easy candidate to be cut. Pinder has been decent, but with only one game at Triple-A in 2012 he could use some more development time before he's given a call up.

The biggest problem in finding a replacement for Clay Rapada is that to name one would have to cost a 40-man roster spot and right now the Yankees don't have many of those to go around. That would leave Cody Eppley and Shawn Kelley as the most likely pitchers to make the team, unless one of the is designated for assignment to make room for someone more deserving.

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