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Aaron Boone Explains Why Yankees Chose to Option Ron Marinaccio to Triple-A

New York optioned Marinaccio on Saturday night, paving the way for Frankie Montas to make his Yankees debut on Sunday.

ST. LOUIS — It was an inevitable roster move and yet, it still felt like a mistake.

The Yankees optioned right-hander Ron Marinaccio down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night, making space on the active roster for newly-acquired starter Frankie Montas (who had been on the bereavement list since he was dealt from Oakland to New York ahead of the trade deadline). 

Looking at New York's pitching staff before the move, Marinaccio was always the likeliest choice to take the shuttle back to Scranton.

Even if the rookie has been pitching well this year—like, really well—he has several options remaining. That flexibility takes a precedence over Marinaccio's sparkling 2.03 ERA and the fact that he's permitted one earned run to score over his previous 22.2 innings pitched (dating back to May 22).

Asked on Sunday morning about the decision to option the reliever, Yankees manager Aaron Boone likened the situation to Clarke Schmidt's return to Triple-A. It's two cases of former prospects having breakout seasons, casualties of a roster crunch at the big-league level.

"Two guys that have certainly proven that they can pitch up here and pitch well up here and certainly been a factor for us winning games this year, but also understanding we're not in a position right now to be getting rid of pitchers to make room," Boone said. "Unfortunately for them, it's that point in their career where they have options."

Schmidt's situation is different, though. The right-hander was demoted in an effort to build up his pitch count, giving him a shot to play a role in the starting rotation at some point this year (and beyond). He was pitching well in the 'pen, but that was a result of some adversity and a need for arms. Schmidt is being groomed to start in a Yankees uniform.

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Marinaccio, meanwhile, had been dominant in a versatile role in the bullpen this year, pitching in high leverage and showing his filthy stuff plays at this level. He's been performing in the role this franchise is hoping he'll occupy down the road.

Boone spun the situation in a positive way, prefacing that both pitchers can get better while pitching for the RailRiders. 

"It's an important time for them to go down and continue to really build on what's been a really good season," Boone explained. "[We made sure Ron] knows that he's got a real chance at not only impacting us the rest of the regular season, but even hopefully heading into a postseason situation. Trying to accentuate the positives of what he's doing this year and really establishing himself in his career."

Overall this season, Marinaccio has allowed six earned runs in 26 innings pitched, striking out 31 batters while walking 12. He'll be back, and odds are, Schmidt will be too before the calendar flips to October.

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