Aaron Boone: ‘Good chance’ Yankees use ‘opener’ during season
The New York Yankees used Chad Green in an “opener” role during Tuesday’s Grapefruit League action, and manager Aaron Boone indicated it’s a strategy the team may roll out during the regular season.
It is perhaps no coincidence that Green took the mound in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays, the team credited for introducing the “opener” role to baseball last season. It could be a sign of things to come for the Yankees, according to Boone.
“I’d expect there’s a good chance we could use it,’’ Boone said after the Yankees’ 6-2 exhibition win over the Rays, via NorthJersey.com.
Boone added that Green, along with Jonathan Holden — who is on tab to open Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros — would be the prime candidates to assume the role should the Yankees opt to use it during the regular season.
The Yankees’ hand as it pertains to employing an “opener” arguably has been forced by issues with the starting rotation. CC Sabathia is not expected to be ready until mid-to-late April following his offseason heart procedure and is being brought along slowly. Luis Severino, meanwhile, is dealing with shoulder inflammation and isn’t expected to start until sometime in May.
Boone’s warming to the “opener” role makes sense given the predicament in which the Yankees find themselves. That said, Boone did not appear as keen on the concept in late February, although he did not rule it out given certain circumstances, either.
“I can see a scenario. Look if we are healthy and have perfect health you don’t envision that,” Boone said at the time, via the New York Post. “I could see a handful of times where it could potentially be in play for us.”
It will be interesting to see if the Yankees do indeed follow their division rival’s lead and use an “opener.” Several teams did experiment with the strategy last season, including the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texans Rangers and Minnesota Twins, but it has not necessarily taken Major League Baseball by storm just yet, nor is that necessarily expected to happen.