Shreve serving as reminder of bullpen depth

Shreve serving as reminder of bullpen depth

TAMPA, Fla. -- The so-called "Big Three" of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances have garnered most of the attention in camp, but Chasen Shreve believes people may be underestimating the talent in the rest of the Yankees' bullpen.

"They're the headline. They're what people talk about," Shreve said after fanning two over 1 1/3 scoreless innings in Friday's 7-1 win over the Orioles. "Yeah, I'm sure we get overlooked a little bit."

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That's fine with the 25-year-old left-hander, who hopes to remind the Yankees how important he was in the late innings through the first five months of last season.

In 50 appearances through Sept. 5, Shreve compiled a 1.86 ERA in 53 1/3 innings, permitting 33 hits while walking 27 and striking out 60.

The rest of September was a nightmare, as Shreve surrendered nine runs and 16 hits -- including four homers -- in nine appearances that spanned just five innings, for a 16.20 ERA. Shreve was not surprised when the Yankees left him off the roster for the American League Wild Card Game.

"I think it was just a little bit of fatigue," Shreve said. "I think it was a little bit of, when stuff went wrong, I started changing stuff and not doing the whole, 'Look at the glove and throw strikes and not worry about who's up.' I think that just started to build up on me. It snowballed."

Catcher Brian McCann has suggested that Shreve may have been tipping pitches in September, though Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have downplayed that. Girardi said that he believes fatigue was the reason for the tailspin, and that Shreve looks like he has returned to form.

"I noticed it right away in Spring Training, right away when he was throwing his bullpens," Girardi said. "It looked like the guy that we saw, and it's continued in the games."

Girardi has said that his most important decisions this spring may be filling out the remainder of the bullpen, especially with Chapman suspended until May 9. Shreve seems to be in good position to grab one of those spots, a much more preferable spot than he was in a year ago.

"Honestly, I'm just approaching it to get ready for the season," Shreve said. "It's not my call. It's just something to worry about. I'm coming in like last year just to do my best and get ready for the season."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.