Judge wins Yanks' right field job, Severino 4th starter
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Aaron Judge has won the New York Yankees' right field job and Luis Severino has earned the fourth spot in the starting rotation.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Thursday that Aaron Hicks will be the fourth outfielder.
''That was a very tough call,'' Girardi said. ''It was a very good competition. In the end, we thought Judge won the competition.''
Judge, 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds, has a .345 spring training average. He hit .179 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 27 games following his August call-up to the Yankees last season, but he struck out 42 times in 84 at-bats.
''He had more consistent at-bats,'' Girardi said. ''There were less strikeouts. There was better contact, consistent contact. He got better and better as spring training went along.''
Hicks has a .264 average in exhibition play.
''We'll find spots for him to play more than, hopefully, once a week,'' Girardi said.
Severino, 23, has tremendous promise but went just 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 11 starts and 11 relief appearances last year.
''We didn't think there was one guy that really stood way above,'' Girardi said. ''I thought Sevie did a better job. I believe Sevie has the ability to perform. There's things he has to do, pitching down in the zone is one of them. Location is really important for Sevie.''
A fifth starter likely will not be needed until April 16. Jordan Montgomery, at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Chad Green, at Double-A Trenton, will be lined up for the slot. Luis Cessa also is a possibility.
Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren will be joined in the bullpen by Jonathan Holder, Tommy Layne, Bryan Mitchell and Chasen Shreve.
Ronald Torreyes will start at shortstop in place of Didi Gregorius, who will begin the season on the disabled list and is not expected back until May due to a right shoulder injury. Pete Kozma will be the backup infielder.
NOTES: CC Sabathia could laugh about his rough final tune-up for his first regular-season start Tuesday night at Tampa Bay. That's because the lefty, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October, felt ''good'' physically after giving up eight runs - three earned - and nine hits over four innings in a Triple-A game against Toronto minor leaguers. Sabathia struck out three and walked one.