Duane Underwood Jr.,Josh VanMeter

With opening day scheduled for March 28 against Houston Astros, the New York Yankees are putting together an ideal roster composition. While ace starting pitcher Gerrit Cole presumably out with elbow injury for over a month, Aaron Boone has been tasked to take some tough decisions.

The New York Yankees front office poured their heart out this off-season to build a formidable roster. However, striking the right balance is really the key to ensuring positive and consistent results during the regular season grind. Amid the chaos, the club optioned two players, presumably in contention for bench spots, to minor league camps.


Yankees Reassign Duane Underwood Jr, Josh VanMeter To Minor League

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees made some tough decisions as they trimmed their roster in preparation for impending opening day. Among the casualties were infielder Josh VanMeter and reliever Duane Underwood Jr. Notably, both of the players were vying for spots on the prestigious roster. VanMeter arrived at spring training with high hopes of securing a role on the team. He went 2-for-22 with a homer in 12 spring games. And was in contention to claim a bench spot, especially after Oswald Peraza’s shoulder injury. However, despite his best efforts, VanMeter fell victim to the fierce competition for roster spots, ultimately failing to make the final cut. The club deemed him unfit for major leagues. And thus chose to option him back to minor leagues.

On the other hand, Duane Underwood Jr., a promising young reliever with a strong arm and deceptive pitches, also found himself sidelined from opening-day roster contention. The relief pitcher allowed only one earned run over 4 1/3 innings in four spring outings. He was contesting for a final couple of bullpen spots alongside Nick Burdi, Dennis Santana, Clayton Beeter, Will Warren, Nick Ramirez, and others. With a blazing fastball and a repertoire of off-speed pitches, he seemed poised to make an impact out of the bullpen. However, the numbers game proved to be his downfall. And the Yankees opted to go in a different direction for their bullpen needs. Having said that, the decision to cut VanMeter and Underwood was undoubtedly a difficult one for the team. But with the roster limited to a certain number of spots, tough choices were inevitable.

Gerrit Cole Likely To Begin 2024 Season On Injury List

Gerrit Cole

In a season first and massive injury setback, the New York Yankees are set to loose reigning AL CY Young pitcher Gerrit Cole to elbow injury. Cole’s pitching elbow acted up after his spring debut unprovoked. He is undergoing advanced scans as of this writing. But speculations have it that Cole will enter IL for at least 1-2 months.

Jon Heyman of NY Post claimed MRI scans have ruled out a UCL tear. However, the issues with his elbow ligament continues to remain a point of concern. Gerrit Cole is expected to meet with a specialist surgeon in Los Angeles soon to determine future course of action. But for now, the Yankees have started looking out for replacement options.

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