Cessa won't make his scheduled start Monday against the Orioles due to inclement weather. Cessa was set to toss the first few innings of Monday's matchup, though he won't get a chance to do so after all. New York will play a doubleheader Wednesday to make up Monday's contest.
Manager Aaron Boone announced Saturday that Cessa will begin the season out of the bullpen in a long-relief role, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Boone did mention the possibility of utilizing the opener strategy April 1 against the Tigers, and Cessa could be used as the primary pitcher should they go that route. The 26-year-old was in the mix for a rotation spot with Luis Severino (shoulder) and CC Sabathia (knee, chest, suspension) sidelined for the beginning of the season, but Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga will be called upon instead. Cessa showcased himself near perfectly in spring training with a 0.53 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 18:1 K:BB through 17 innings, but will nonetheless start the season in the bullpen.
Cessa will work in relief Tuesday with the Yankees using Chad Green as an opener in his place against the Rays, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Cessa was scheduled to start Tuesday, but Green will get the nod instead as the Yankees give the opener a shot against the team that made the role famous. Cessa should still get in as many innings as needed Tuesday, and remains on track to break camp with a spot in the Yankees' rotation.
Cessa is the leading candidate to open the year as the Yankees' fifth starter, James Wagner of The New York Times reports. Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga are more exciting for fantasy purposes, but it is Cessa who has apparently been the most impressive so far in this competition with Luis Severino (shoulder) set to open the year on the injured list. Cessa has a 0.69 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings this spring, and tossed four scoreless innings Thursday against the Blue Jays. Also working in Cessa's favor is that he is out of minor-league options. German will likely also open in the rotation, with CC Sabathia (knee, heart, suspension) likely to miss a couple weeks at the start of the season.
Cessa (1-4) took the loss against the Red Sox on Sunday, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while recording only one out. He did not record a strikeout or walk a batter. Cessa threw only 14 pitches to six batters as the Red Sox wasted little time showcasing their aggressiveness. The 26-year-old was unlikely to have an elongated outing regardless as the Yankees opted to use six relievers to get through the blowout, but it's a disappointing performance nonetheless. Cessa finishes the regular season with a 5.24 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 39:13 K:BB over 44.2 major-league innings.