"We liked the camps that they had," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Betances had a great camp. We think Nuno gives us a lot of flexibility as far as a second left-hander, but also a guy that can give you some innings if you bring him in to face a left, right, left. He'll give you a couple of innings."
The Yankees still need to finalize one backup infield spot after telling Dean Anna that he made the club on Friday. They are continuing to discuss how to decide the remaining spot between Eduardo Nunez and non-roster invitee Yangervis Solarte.
Betances and Nuno will join the mix leading to closer David Robertson. Left-hander Matt Thornton and right-hander Shawn Kelley were considered early locks for the bullpen, and fifth starter runners-up David Phelps and Adam Warren are also beginning the year in relief.
"Our bullpen has some flexibility because three guys can really give you some good distance," Girardi said, referring to Phelps, Warren and Nuno.
Betances, 26, made eight previous big league appearances (one start) with the Yankees in 2011 and '13. Once a top starting pitching prospect, Betances was converted into a full-time reliever last season.
"I did what I had to do. I felt like I earned my spot," Betances said. "Now it's just competing and trying to help the team as much as I can."
Nuno, 26, was 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five games (three starts) with New York last season. Once property of the Indians' organization, Nuno had a stint in independent ball before latching on with the Yankees.
"I can sleep a little bit better now, just knowing that I'm heading to Houston and then New York," Nuno said. "It's just a long journey. I'm just really happy, really thrilled about how I got the news. Now it's back to work."
The team also gave serious consideration to left-hander Cesar Cabral, who threw 9 1/3 scoreless innings this spring, but the club's early schedule played a part in the decision to leave Cabral off the roster.
"We play 13 games in a row to get out of the gate," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I think taking our best pitching going north -- the fact that we're playing 13 games in a row, Nuno can give you length as well as that he's left-handed. That gave him a leg up."