Luis Cessa on preparing for 2018 swingman role
The 25-year-old righty looks to utilize his versatility for a hungry Bombers squad
Luis Cessa, 25-year-old right-hander, is working to be one of the team's most reliable arms this season, whether in relief or as a reserve starter.
"Every time I have to take the [ball], I do my best. Sometimes it's hard because in the minor leagues, [I'm a] starter and [when] we go to the big leagues, I'll be in the bullpen, so it's different," Cessa explained early in camp.
"I prefer to be a starter, but right now I just [want to] do my best in whatever position."
Cessa has split his Major League time between the bullpen and rotation almost directly down the middle, with 13 relief appearances and 14 starts made since his debut on April 8, 2016.
Earlier this week, Yankees manager Aaron Boone included Cessa in the group of potential names the team is considering to take the final 25-man roster spot, if they elect to make that selection a pitcher over an extra bench player.
For Cessa, any opportunity is welcome.
"Right now I think the most important thing is win games, and that's the situation for everybody," Cessa said. "If I do my best when I throw [in] the bullpen, that's my chance to help the team to win."
In his first season facing MLB competition in 2016, Cessa went 4-4 with a 4.35 ERA over nine starts and eight relief appearances, striking out 46 batters and walking only 14. This year, he's struck out six batters and walked four over 5 1/3 innings of work, notching one win in his three spring starts.
Originally a product of the New York Mets farm system, Cessa's pedigree as an elite hurler has helped him become a frequent rider on the "Scranton Shuttle" over the last two years, but that in itself presents its own challenges for any pitcher.
"It's hard, and the routine is changing because for a starter, you head out every five days, you have the the possibility to take a little break for your arm," Cessa said.
"When you are in the bullpen, you [have to] be ready for every day, so it's really hard, but I have to do my best every time."
Following in the Adam Warren-shaped footsteps of a long reliever/swingman, Cessa has an opportunity to prove himself as a versatile option on the mound for the Yankees this season, as the team draws from its deep well of high-caliber talent.
"I feel strong right now," said Cessa. "This year is really important for me."