It appears Gio Gonzalez won't enter the Yankees rotation unless there is an emergency.
And though Luis Severino is set to miss roughly the first month of the season after dealing with rotator cuff inflammation and CC Sabathia needs more time to get ready, the Yankees don't believe they're in crisis mode because they have Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo German. GM Brian Cashman would prefer to use any of those pitchers instead of Gonzalez, who was signed to a minor-league deal this week.
"Optimally, I'd like to have the kids that we have, rely on those guys, to be honest," Cashman told reporters on Thursday. "We really do believe in the ceilings of the Cessas and Loaisigas and the Germans and we think those guys have earned the right for an opportunity and they're going to get those opportunities."
Cessa has long been considered as the early-season fill-in for Sabathia, who's working his way back from a heart procedure and knee surgery, and Cessa's Spring Training has been stellar. The 26-year-old right-hander has allowed just one run in 17 innings with 18 strikeouts against only one walk.
German, 26, had a rough outing on Thursday against the Cardinals, giving up five runs and three homers in 3.1 innings. Before Thursday, German had allowed two earned runs in 11.2 innings.
The 24-year-old Loaisiga has struggled this spring, allowing 11 runs (10 earned) in 12 innings.
Still, the 33-year-old Gonzalez wasn't brought in to jump those three in the pecking order.
"Obviously, with Gio sitting out there, we swung through to see if he wanted to come in here and be part of an insurance in the event things go wrong and (is) waiting in the wings in the event that happens," Cashman said of Gonzalez, who is adding a cutter to his arsenal. "But he has to compete to put himself in position to be a legitimate option and so we'll evaluate that over the coming month and see what happens."
Sabathia threw two innings in a minor-league exhibition game Thursday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, his first official appearance of the spring and his first since undergoing a heart procedure in December. He allowed one run and struck out three on 26 pitches.
"No problems. I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand pretty good. All positive," Sabathia said, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Severino played catch for the second straight day, making 50 throws from flat ground. Severino won't throw on Friday and it's uncertain when he'll begin throwing off a mound.