If He Makes The Team, Veteran Left-Hander Likely To Be Used As Situational Reliever And Spot Starter


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees appear to have a new utility pitcher.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Bombers have reached an agreement with veteran left-hander Jon Niese. The minor league contract is contingent on Niese passing a physical.

Assuming the deal is finalized, Niese would compete for a bullpen spot. He could also be used as a spot starter.

Niese, 30, spent his first eight seasons with the Mets, going 61-61 with an ERA around 4.00. He was traded to Pittsburgh following the 2015 season in a deal that brought second baseman Neil Walker to New York. With the Mets pushing for a playoff spot late last season and in need of bullpen depth, they reacquired Niese from the Pirates on Aug. 1.

Overall, Niese went 8-7 with a 5.50 ERA in 29 appearances including 20 starts last season.

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Though the Yankees appear to have a very promising young roster, their pitching staff is a major question mark. Veterans Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia are locks, but how the final two spots will be filled remains to be seen. Youngster Luis Severino is expected to grab the fourth spot, with Luis Cessa, Chad Green and Bryan Mitchell fighting for the No. 5 role.

Niese could join a bullpen that likely will feature Adam Warren, Tommy Layne, Dellin Betances and closer Aroldis Chapman.

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