The 2012 Opening Day Roster

Spring Training is officially over, and the Yankees had until 5pm ET today to set their Opening Day roster. Boone Logan‘s back gave us a minor scare this morning, but it’s just spasms. He’ll be fine it seems. Frankie Cervelli was expected to be the backup catcher basically forever, but he’s headed to Triple-A after George Kontos was traded for Chris Stewart. Justin Maxwell was also designated for assignment, which isn’t all that surprising. He had no spot on the roster and was out of options. That’s life.

Barring any late and unforeseen announcements, here are your 2012 Yankees…

Russell Martin
Chris Stewart

Robinson Cano
Eric Chavez
Derek Jeter
Eduardo Nunez
Alex Rodriguez
Mark Teixeira

Brett Gardner
Curtis Granderson
Raul Ibanez
Andruw Jones
Nick Swisher

Starting Pitchers
Freddy Garcia
Phil Hughes
Hiroki Kuroda
Ivan Nova
CC Sabathia

Boone Logan
David Phelps
Clay Rapada
Mariano Rivera
David Robertson
Rafael Soriano
Cory Wade

Congrats to Mr. Phelps. Dude became a father a week or two ago, and now he’s a big leaguer. Must be a pretty exciting time for him and his family.

Players on the big league DL will include David Aardsma (elbow), Cesar Cabral (elbow), Joba Chamberlain (elbow, ankle), Pedro Feliciano (shoulder), Brad Meyers (shoulder), Michael Pineda (shoulder), and Austin Romine (back). Aardsma and Feliciano are already on the 60-day DL while everyone else figures to land on the 15-day. The Yankees currently have one open 40-man spot even after adding Rapada, so they’ll surely slide Joba over to the 60-day whenever they need another spot.

Bill Hall heading home after not making team

Via Dan Barbarisi, Bill Hall is heading home after not making the Opening Day roster. He wants a big league job and will try to latch on with another team. Hall did not have an opt-out clause in his contract, so the Yankees released him at his request. That’s a shame, Hall would have been a nice guy to have stashed away in Triple-A for depth.

Yankees designate Justin Maxwell for assignment

Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have designated outfielder Justin Maxwell for assignment. The writing was on the wall with this one, he was out of minor league options and the team had no room for him on the roster. A trade market never developed, I suppose. Maxwell had a huge spring and is a useful player, just not to the Yankees. He’ll likely get claimed off waivers, and yes, I know I said the exact same thing about Chris Dickerson.

Yankees trade George Kontos for Chris Stewart; Cervelli to AAA

So much for George Kontos stealing a bullpen spot. Multiple sources report that the Yankees have traded him to the Giants for catcher Chris Stewart. You might remember Stewart from 2008, when the Yankees ran through a half dozen catchers. He also spent time with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2009. He will start the season as the Yankees’ backup catcher, as Francisco Cervelli will start the season at AAA.

Color me confused on this one. Stewart has a career .328 OBP in the minors, and .273 in the majors. How he’s an upgrade over Cervelli in any way is beyond me. If this was made to cover the catcher position at AAA since Austin Romine will start the season on the DL, well, it still doesn’t seem to make much sense. Kontos seems like a useful piece. Couldn’t the Yankees have found a .273 OBP catcher who cost a bit less?

Update: MRI negative on Logan’s back

Update (2:11pm): Via Bryan Hoch and Carig, Brian Cashman said the MRI came back negative. It’s just back spasms and not a DL situation. Logan will be on the roster come Opening Day.

11:43am: Via Marc Carig, Logan is now headed for an MRI on his back. That can’t be good.

10:00am: Via Mark Feinsand, Boone Logan showed up to the ballpark with an achy back today and has been sent to the doctor. There’s no word on the extent the injury yet, but we’ll find out soon enough. Clay Rapada was a virtual lock for the roster anyway, but now there’s a chance he’ll end up the primary left-hander by default. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and the Yankees won’t have to dig up another reliever to start the season.

Ivan Nova and why 7 starters for 5 spots isn’t too much

(Steve Ruark/Getty Images)

Are you worried about Ivan Nova‘s rough spring? In one way, it’s easy to write off his poor performance. We can turn to some pretty gruesome spring trainings that meant absolutely nothing. After all, in the spring of 2009 Zack Greinke had an ERA of nearly 10; he won the AL Cy Young Award that season. Cliff Lee had a 5.68 ERA in the spring of 2008, and he had been demoted for poor performance in 2007, yet he produced a magnificent Cy Young season. In that way, it’s not too concerning to see Nova’s 8.06 ERA this spring.

Yet there’s something peculiar about the way Nova has performed this spring. Read accounts of his games, and you’ll see one term repeated frequently: not sharp. It wasn’t exactly a control thing; he walked only three batters in 22.1 innings. But he just wasn’t locating his pitches as he did last season. He wasn’t getting ground balls, which are key to his game. And he was leaving plenty of mistakes over the plate, as his team-leading five home runs suggests. Does that do anything to raise the level of concern?

It’s easy to forget how Nova ended last season. After surrendering a pair of solo homers in the first inning of ALDS Game 5, Nova mysteriously did not come out for the second. It was later revealed that he suffered an injury to the flexor tendon in his forearm, which is never something you want to hear. But he had the whole winter to rest and rehab, and it wasn’t long before the Yankees declared him healthy and ready to go. All seemed well. That is, until he got knocked around this spring.

This isn’t to throw up alarms and declare Nova injured. For all we know he could do the same thing that Greinke did in 2009, that Lee did in 2008, and completely shed a rough spring. But there has to be some worry that the injury continues to affect him. Maybe it’s not at risk for further damage, but maybe it throws him off enough that he’s not effective. That could hamper the Yankees to start the season. It’s also exactly why they assembled so much depth.

When Michael Pineda went down it was a big deal, but only because he represents such a big part of their future. Thankfully, the Yankees were prepared for such an occurrence. While having six starters for five spots was deemed a competition, it was as much insurance as anything. Pitchers get hurt, so having six for five spots is almost a necessity for a contending team. The Yankees suffered an injury, and were able to cover it up with their depth. If something is wrong with Nova and he’s not able to pitch effectively, they’ll again have to dip into their depth.

Thankfully, the Yankees do have some options that they can use in Nova’s place should worse come to worst. David Phelps has already made the big league club in the bullpen, and if Nova falters from the start they could slide him into the rotation. They also have Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell in AAA, if they’d rather use someone who is already stretched out. Chances are none of those guys will step in and immediately replicate Nova’s production. But they certainly represent better options than we’ve seen in the past. That is to say, there’s no Sidney Ponson on the horizon if the pitching staff suffers another injury or bout of ineffectiveness.

Nova’s poor spring performance might be nothing. It might have been him pressing himself a bit too much. It might been him making certain necessary adjustments. It might have been one of those spring flukes we see nearly every year. But there is a possibility that something is not right with Nova, and that it will hurt his effectiveness from the get-go. If that is the case — and, again, it’s just a what-if scenario — the Yankees do have the depth to cover him. It might not be ideal, but it’s there. That’s why there’s never a problem in having seven guys for five spots. Something always comes up to mess up the best-case scenario.

ST Game Thread: The Finale

(REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

At long last, the end of the exhibition season is upon us. The Yankees will close out their Spring Training schedule at home against the Mets today, then enjoy tomorrow’s off-day before officially kicking off the 2012 regular season against the Rays on Friday afternoon. Oh, and by the way, Andy Pettitte is going to return to the mound and throw an inning this afternoon. Hooray for that. Enjoy the last meaningless game, the roller coaster starts in two days. Here’s the lineup…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
DH Raul Ibanez
C Russell Martin
LF Brett Gardner

RHP Freddy Garcia

Available Pitchers: LHP Andy Pettitte will follow Garcia, though I doubt he enters the game mid-inning. RHP Cory Wade, LHP Clay Rapada, RHP Dave Robertson, LHP Rigoberto Arrebato, LHP Vidal Nuno, RHP Brandon Braboy, and RHP John Brebbia are also available if needed.

Available Position Players: C Frankie Cervelli, 1B Eric Chavez, 2B Bill Hall, SS Jayson Nix, 3B Eduardo Nunez, LF Andruw Jones, and CF Justin Maxwell will replace the starters.

Today’s game starts at 12:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally (but not SNY) and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.