BRADENTON, Fla. — The Yankees haven’t made an announcement regarding who will fill the final few spots in their bullpen on Opening Day just yet, but a few contenders can be ruled out after a set of transactions on Sunday.

Right-hander Ron Marinaccio, lefty Nick Ramirez and swingman Cody Poteet were all optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the team revealed after a 1-0 win over the Pirates at LECOM Park.

Cody Poteet

Yankees right-hander Cody Poteet was among a handful of arms to be optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday.AP

Starter Will Warren was also reassigned to minor-league camp. He’s in line to start the year in Triple-A as well after righty Luis Gil was named the fifth starter in the rotation.

Looking at the current state of the Yankees’ roster, there are five locks to be in the big-league bullpen on Opening Day. That’s closer Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loáisiga, Ian Hamilton, Caleb Ferguson and Victor González.



At least one arm needs to fill the role that Michael King and Jhony Brito held in the ‘pen last year, a pitcher that’s capable of throwing multiple innings at a time while making a start when needed. That’s where Luke Weaver — who is earning guaranteed money this year after re-signing in free agency — comes into the picture.

With Tommy Kahnle unavailable to start the season on time after a delay in his spring build-up — he can thank the shoulder injury that ended his season last fall for that — there are two spots that need to be filled.

With Sunday’s transactions in mind, it’s as clear as ever that the Yankees are leaning toward their non-roster invitees: right-handers Nick Burdi and Dennis Santana.

Burdi pitched in relief of starter Marcus Stroman in Sunday’s win, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings. This spring, Burdi has a 2.45 ERA, using his electric stuff to rack up 13 strikeouts in seven outings (7 1/3 innings). Santana has had an equally impressive spring, posting a 2.79 ERA with 13 strikeouts across 9 2/3 frames.

Both non-roster arms would need to be added to the 40-man roster, meaning the Yankees will have some roster shuffling to take care of before making anything is official. That shouldn’t be too difficult for the club due to preexisting injuries, though. Ace Gerrit Cole (elbow) and infielder Oswald Peraza (shoulder) can be moved to the 60-day injured list. Righty McKinley Moore hasn’t pitched in a game all spring due to injury as well, so he’s a candidate for the 60-day IL. And then there’s Ben Rortvedt, who could be traded as a result of the Yankees’ depth at catcher and the backstop’s lack of minor-league options.

Gil may be the No. 5 starter, but there’s a good chance he’s not on the Opening Day roster. The Yankees can use that spot to either carry an additional reliever or bring along Rortvedt, waiting until the very last minute to trade him or try and sneak him through waivers.

It’s also worth noting that pitching prospect Clayton Beeter was not included in the group of arms optioned to Triple-A on Sunday. That doesn’t mean he’s in the running for a bullpen spot, but bench coach Brad Ausmus did mention that the Yankees had been wanting to use Beeter in a relief spot where he enters the game mid-inning. That’s what happened during Saturday’s loss to the Tigers where Beeter was summoned after Poteet gave up eight runs on 2 1/3 innings.


— Stroman ended his first spring with the Yankees on a high note, dripping in confidence after six scoreless innings against Pittsburgh. He struck out five, allowing four hits with two walks. Stroman heads into the regular season after making six Grapefruit League starts, posting a 2.61 ERA.

— The Yankees had only four hits in the win. A double to the wall in left from Jahmai Jones plated Josh VanMeter — who lined a double off the wall in right on the previous pitch from Pirates closer David Bednar — in the top of the fourth, the only run for either side. Jones is now hitting .296 with a .960 OPS this spring, continuing to compete for a spot on the bench.