The Yankees still have two spring training games to go before Opening Day, but manager Joe Girardi announced quite a few answers to the lingering roster questions during Thursday's game. Some of the answers were more obvious than others, of course, but it still presented a clearer picture of the team that will head north for Monday.
Least surprising of all Girardi's announcements was that Masahiro Tanaka would be the team's Opening Day starter. This only briefly seemed in doubt when Girardi issued a bit of a challenge to his ace to step it up in his final start of spring training. Tanaka performed well enough to still get the nod for Opening Day, which probably makes the most sense as long as he is healthy.
Austin Romine was officially named the team's backup catcher, which also isn't surprising at all. Gary Sanchez was Romine's only real competition and he failed to hit well enough in camp to even make it to the end. There was an outside chance that the Yankees would give the job to a veteran like Carlos Corporan, but playing time indicated they weren't serious about him as an option.
Two somewhat prospects have made the Opening Day bullpen. Johnny Barbato and Luis Cessa pitched well enough to crack the roster with the status of Bryan Mitchell and Andrew Miller still in doubt. Cessa was acquired in the Justin Wilson trade, and was expected to serve as starter depth at Triple-A. Apparently the team feels as though he can best help out in the big league bullpen for now. Kirby Yates is also expected to make the bullpen for Opening Day, which makes sense with how good he has looked this spring.
One spot that hasn't been settled yet, if you believe Girardi, is fifth starter. It would be completely shocking for the spot to not go to CC Sabathia, but Girardi isn't ready to say that out loud yet. Neither Sabathia nor Ivan Nova have had amazing springs, but one of them has to be the team's final starter. All common sense indicates it will be Sabathia, but the fact that Girardi won't come out and say it yet is at least a little surprising.
The Yankees could also be getting back an old friend at some point this week. Jake Cave, who was taken by the Reds in the Rule 5 draft, was placed on waivers earlier today. Unless another team is willing to claim him and put him on their Opening Day roster, the Reds will need to return him to the Yankees.
Cave wasn't a huge loss with the amount of outfield depth the Yankees have, but he is a very solid player. He could see big league time at some point this year, which is important with the starting outfield being extremely injury prone. It's not a guarantee he'll be back just yet, but all signs point to the fact that he will.
What do you think of the final changes to the Yankees' Opening Day roster?