Yankees' Aaron Boone opens up on Jay Bruce roster decision

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Garrett Stepien
·2 min read
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Jay Bruce first base 3/22
Jay Bruce first base 3/22

The Yankees have a decision to make on Jay Bruce. As SNY's Andy Martino reported earlier Thursday morning, the Yankees are receiving trade interest in Mike Tauchman -- a competitor for Bruce's roster spot -- but have explored an unconventional scenario of keeping the two.

Thursday afternoon in Tampa, Fla., Yankees manager Aaron Boone was honest about the potential roster crunch. Bruce can exercise his opt-out clause Thursday and the Yankees would have a two-day window to add him to the roster.

"Well, we have, in his case, 48 hours," Boone said. "So we actually just got off a long phone call right now with a lot of people, centered around the roster, so those conversations are happening, trying to get different points of view, and everyone's able to weigh in on different things before we make a final decision."

Bruce -- who turns 34 next Saturday, April 4 -- is a 13-year veteran by way of the Cincinnati (2008-16) and four other teams, including the Mets in parts of 2016-18. Most recently a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020, Bruce's career slash line is .245/.314/.469 with 318 home runs and 948 RBI through 1,640 regular-season games.

"I mean, try to be transparent where you can be," Boone said. "There's always a compassionate element that I think it's important -- and I think we do a good job of never taking it lightly when we are dealing with somebody's livelihood but also understand that this is our job to make this call and to make difficult calls and we'll do it to the best of our ability and try and serve our team and individuals as best we can."

With the Yankees, Bruce has given Boone and company a case. Through 13 spring-training games, Bruce is slashing .194/.242/.419 with two home runs and three RBI.

"It's been really good," Boone said of Bruce's spring. "One of the things I really wanted to do is get him a lot of work at first base and kind of see what that looks like. I've been ... I don't want to say pleasantly surprised because I'd heard -- I know he's done that before, and he's kind of looked the part. But he's certainly looked the part, to me, over there. I feel like he moves naturally over at first base, when you know what he can do over in the corner outfields. I feel like he's healthy. His swing's in a pretty good place. He's impacted a number of balls for us. He's shown, I think, everything we could've hoped for when we brought him in."