Jay Bruce seems to have inside track for spot on Yankees' roster

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Danny Abriano
·1 min read
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Jay Bruce smiling on field at Yankees spring training in warmup gear close crop
Jay Bruce smiling on field at Yankees spring training in warmup gear close crop

It flew under the radar a bit when the Yankees signed Jay Bruce to a minor league deal in February, but the veteran slugger has made his presence felt at spring training and seems to be on track to make the 26-man roster.

“He clearly is healthy, and we’ve seen him already impact the ball, not that I’m that worried about results with him," Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Thursday via Zoom. "If he's healthy, the results will be there for him and that’s what we’re seeing so far.

"I think at this point, everything that we could’ve hoped for we’re seeing, certainly from an offensive side. But (there's also) defensive versatility and what we think is the ability to play first.”

How Bruce has looked could be bad news for Mike Tauchman, who has a similar skill set to Bruce and is out of minor league options.

Brett Gardner, Tyler Wade, and Kyle Higashioka are viewed as locks for the bench, setting up a potential roster crunch.

Bruce, still only 33 years old, struggled last year in 32 games for the Philadelphia Phillies, but is a proven power bat who is able to play both corner outfield spots and first base.

Bruce is not a high average hitter and will probably not get on base a ton, but his swing could be a match for the short porch at Yankee Stadium.

SNY's Andy Martino wrote earlier this week that the battle between Bruce and Tauchman might be the toughest decision facing the Yanks when it comes to figuring out their roster for Opening Day.