Yankees give spot to Lucas Luetge, finalize roster

Feb 25, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Lucas Luetge (63) throws a pitch during a simulated game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees made their final decision on their 26-man Opening Day roster, giving him the last spot to left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge, who impressed during spring training play. He hasn’t pitched in Major League Baseball since 2015.

Luetge worked hard, using the Yankees’ resources, to increase the spin rate on all of his pitches, giving his fastball more ride and his breaking balls more bite. The prize for his hard work is a spot on the Yankees’ bullpen.

Luetge will be replacing fellow lefty Justin Wilson, who will start the season on the injured list after experience some left shoulder tightness for the past few days.

Kuetge impressed the Yankees

The veteran reliever was excellent during Grapefruit League play, striking out 18 batters in just 10.1 innings of work. He only walked a couple of batters and finished the month of March with a sparkling 1.74 ERA.

Even rival scouts who watched Luetge pitch said that he made batters look silly at nearly all times, so he will try to be more than just a mop-up guy in the Yankees’ bullpen.

He will join Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Darren O’Day, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Nick Nelson in the bullpen to start the season.

Zack Britton and Justin Wilson will eventually return to action once they are recovered from their respective injuries, so Luetge will have to perform and impress in order to keep his roster spot for the long term.

Here is the Yankees’ 26-man roster to open the season:

C: Gary Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka

Infielders: Jay Bruce, Tyler Wade, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela

Outfielders: Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier

Starters: Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon

Relievers: Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, Nick Nelson, Lucas Luetge, Darren O’Day, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King.