The time is now for bullpen hopefuls to shine

The time is now for bullpen hopefuls to shine

TAMPA, Fla. -- There have been some rough outings from the relievers competing for jobs in Yankees camp, which did not come as a complete surprise to manager Joe Girardi. No matter: The real evaluations of those contenders is set to begin now.

"You've had guys have good outings, but there's been some inconsistency, which you kind of expect this time of the season," Girardi said on Wednesday. "That's why I've said that the first 10 days to two weeks, I'm not going to evaluate.

"This is the time when they have to start showing us what they can do and try to make the club."

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The Yankees project to have Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances as bullpen locks, and Chasen Shreve has looked more like the pitcher who had a 1.86 ERA as late as Sept. 5. That leaves three openings for middle relievers to make the club.

Tyler Olson (0.00 ERA), Kirby Yates (0.00 ERA), Branden Pinder (2.70 ERA), Johnny Barbato (4.15 ERA) and Nick Rumbelow (4.50 ERA) have posted the best numbers of the hopefuls on the 40-man roster, a group that also includes Nick Goody (5.06 ERA) and James Pazos (10.12 ERA).

"Obviously, it could be better, but the important thing is that I feel great, I feel healthy," said Pazos, who made 11 scoreless appearances for the Yankees last September to earn a place on the American League Wild Card Game roster. "I haven't had the best of springs, but hopefully, I can turn it around."

Non-roster invitee Anthony Swarzak has a 3.60 ERA, while Diego Moreno (13.50 ERA) and Vinnie Pestano have struggled (15.00 ERA).

Girardi noted that Bryan Mitchell (1.13 ERA) has pitched well, tossing three scoreless innings on Tuesday against the Red Sox. However, Mitchell may be shipped to Triple-A if the Yankees carry either CC Sabathia or Ivan Nova as a long man.

"Obviously, we're trying to iron out some of those bullpen issues," Girardi said. "Getting those other spots in the bullpen are important to me. I'm pleased with where we are, but we still have a lot of decisions to make."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.