NEW YORK -- Bryan Mitchell had been told that he earned a spot on the Yankees' Opening Day roster, but after having surgery on his left big toe this week, the right-hander is instead expected to miss at least four months of the season.
Manager Joe Girardi said that Mitchell had surgery on Monday after being seen by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. Mitchell was diagnosed with Grade 3 turf toe on his left big toe and a fracture of the sesamoid bone following his final outing of the spring.
"We have to find out exactly what that four months means. Is it: he can begin throwing? Or: he should be back?" Girardi said. "But it will be at least four months before we see him."
Mitchell compiled an 0.57 ERA in 15 2/3 spring innings, allowing one run and seven hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts. He limped off the field after covering first base in a March 30 outing against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
"A freak injury. It's just part of it," Mitchell said then. "You just kind of have to roll with it. I can't get too down on myself. Luckily it's not my arm, so I'll take that."
Mitchell had been envisioned for the swingman role that Adam Warren filled last season. The injury created a vacancy for rookie right-hander Luis Cessa to make the Opening Day roster, and Girardi said that both Cessa and right-hander Ivan Nova could be utilized in that fashion.
"Cessa is a guy that you'd possibly look at to do that, but we've got to make sure in a sense that we make sure he stays built up, as well as Nova," Girardi said. "How many one-inning stints does he get compared to longer stints? That's something that, in a sense, the games will determine, but he's a guy that could probably do it, too."
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.