Reliever Barbato earns spot on Yanks' roster

Righty also wins James P. Dawson Award as club's outstanding rookie in spring

Reliever Barbato earns spot on Yanks' roster

TAMPA, Fla. -- Johnny Barbato is packing his bags for New York, having been informed that he has earned a spot on the Yankees' Opening Day roster, and the right-hander now has a little something extra to bring along on the trip.

The Yankees announced on Thursday that Barbato has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to an outstanding rookie in Spring Training. Barbato received the award in a pregame ceremony prior to the Yankees' game against the Cardinals.

"It's surreal, honestly," Barbato said. "Definitely, it was mind-blowing. I've been waiting, working hard for six years for this. Just going through my mind, I had to tell my parents, let everybody know. I'm just really excited about it."

Barbato, 23, was 0-1 with two saves and a 1.74 ERA in 10 relief appearances in Grapefruit League action. In 10 1/3 innings, he permitted two earned runs and seven hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts.

Over five Minor League seasons, he has an 18-15 record with 36 saves, a 3.55 ERA (317 IP, 125 ER) and 326 strikeouts in 179 career appearances (20 starts). Barbato was acquired from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Shawn Kelley in December 2014.

The award was established in honor of James P. Dawson (1896-1953), who began a 45-year career with The New York Times as a copy boy in 1908. Eight years later, he became boxing editor and covered boxing and baseball until his death during Spring Training in 1953.

Two winners of the honor, Tony Kubek in 1957 and Tom Tresh in 1962, went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award. The Dawson Award first was presented to rookie Norm Siebern by manager Casey Stengel in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the conclusion of Spring Training in 1956. Yankees beat writers vote on the winner.

In conjunction with the award, Barbato received a watch from Betteridge Jewelers.

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.