TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have confirmed they will carry a 12-man pitching staff to begin the season, and manager Joe Girardi said there is a "decent chance" they will take a second left-handed reliever.
While Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman are still hammering out how to fit six starters into five slots, they are also weighing the spring contributions of Clay Rapada and Cesar Cabral, both of whom have made a case to be on the roster.
"I think it comes down to trying to make an educated guess of what [Cabral's] upside is," Girardi said. "You know what you're getting from Clay. It's kind of similar to the young starters versus Freddy [Garcia]. That's what you have to set your mind on and go with your heart."
Rapada entered Wednesday having struck out 11 and permitted just three hits and three walks in 8 1/3 scoreless innings spanning nine spring appearances.
Cabral, a Rule 5 Draft pick in December from the Red Sox via the Royals, has posted a 1.74 ERA in 10 1/3 innings over nine appearances. He has permitted 11 hits, including a home run, while striking out 12 and walking two.
Girardi acknowledged that because of waivers, the Yankees will likely lose the pitcher they do not carry. That makes it important to weigh the 23-year-old Cabral's potential against Rapada's big league track record of 78 appearances, including a 6.06 ERA in 32 outings for the Orioles last year.
"Clay's ability to change angles on left-handers has always been tough -- it's a tough angle for lefties," Girardi said. "Cesar has a good arm. We saw him get strikeouts when he needed to. His slider has improved as time went on. His changeup helps him against right-handers. It's kind of the young versus the experienced."