The Yankees made their first cuts of the spring on Sunday, reassigning catcher Jose Gil and pitchers Jorge DePaula, Stephen White and Kris Wilson to minor league camp. Of the four, only DePaula saw game action this spring, surrendering three runs on a walk and a pair of homers by Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand (the latter of whom had been hit on the wrist by Jaret Wright in his previous at-bat). Gil is a low-minors prospect who could use to play more often than he would have with the big boys this spring. White is a mid-level prospect coming off an injury-plagued season who could likely use same. Wilson, 29, is a never-was who won't be, the Yankees having used up their miracle juice on Aaron Small last year. DePaula, now 27 and nearly two years away from his Tommy John surgery, has just reached that status.
Elsewhere, it appears that Al Leiter doesn't really have any designs on breaking camp with the Yankees, but rather signed his minor league deal so that he'd be available for the World Baseball Classic (not that he needed the contract to make the Classic, but that, unlike Roger Clemens, he wasn't guaranteed a roster spot and needed a place to stay in shape and keep his name in the mind of US manager Buck Martinez). Some choice quotes from Senator Al: "This could be the last thing I do, very much so." "My mind was more on this than the other [making the Yankees]." "When this is over, Roger will pitch. For me, this could be it."
For all intents and purposes, this means that Al's minor league deal is something of a sham, and that we can more or less place him on the cut list with DePaula et. al. The primary beneficiary of this revelation is Matt Smith, who looked sharp striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth in Thursday's opener.