TAMPA, Fla. – The New York Yankees entered spring training with serious questions about who would follow ace Gerrit Cole in the rotation.
A week before the team breaks camp, the picture has become much clearer.
Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery appear poised to fill three of the spots, with Domingo Germán and Deivi García making cases to complete the rotation.
“The headlines are tremendously important when we talk about six months,” Cole said. “Health is first and foremost, everyone takes the ball when asked and the performance right now is kind of lighthearted at the top. Of course, the regular season is what counts, but very encouraged. I like the position. we’re in and I’m excited that they all looked really good. “
Cole is scheduled to start the regular season opener against Toronto at Yankee Stadium on April 1. He struck out eight and allowed one run and four hits in five innings in his penultimate spring training outing Sunday against the Blue Jays.
Others, including Michael King, are in the mix for starts during a season where pitch depth will be key.
“They have come in with excellent focus across the board and in great shape in a position to come out and act,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I think the plan put in place with these guys from (pitching coach) Matt Blake that led him to get these guys to develop properly up to this point has gone really well. So with 10, 11 days to get here, at least I’m encouraged where we are. “
Kluber, a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner, has allowed two runs in six innings after pitching just one inning since May 2019 due to injuries to his right forearm and shoulder.
Taillon has not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings when he returns from Tommy John surgery in 2019.
Montgomery is on a nine-inning scoreless streak after allowing a run during the first inning in his opening start. The southpaw has appeared in just 12 games since Tommy John’s surgery in 2018.
Germán has not given up a run in nine innings after not pitching since September 2019 due to violating baseball’s domestic violence policy. I was 18-4 in 2019
“When you have a tight-knit team of guys who challenge each other, support each other, have very good conversions with each other, I think that can benefit the whole group and also them individually.” Boone said. “I liked what I’ve seen from that point of view from the beginning, as these guys grow up as teammates.”
Reinforcements from within can also provide a boost during the season, as Luis Severino, a 19-game winner in 2018, could return from Tommy John surgery in June or July.