11:53 am: The Yankees have officially selected Bruce to the 40-man roster. Right-hander Clarke Schmidt was placed on the 60-day injured list (elbow) in a corresponding move. Additionally, non-roster invitees Robinson Chirinos and Derek Dietrich have been released from their minor-league contracts. Both are now free agents.
11:14 am: The Yankees are planning on selecting the contract of outfielder/first baseman Jay Bruce, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports (Twitter link). The veteran slugger had been in camp as a non-roster invitee. New York is also expected to hold onto Mike Tauchman, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). At the very least, the Yankees don’t plan on exposing the out-of-options Tauchman to waivers, says Andy Martino of SNY (Twitter link), although a trade could still be a possibility.
Expected starting first baseman Luke Voit will begin the year on the injured list, Marly Rivera of ESPN was first to report. Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed Voit has suffered a meniscus tear in his knee and will undergo surgery. He’ll be shut down from baseball activities for the next three weeks (via Erik Boland of Newsday). New York expects Voit back “considerably sooner than” June, Boone said (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com), but it seems possible the reigning home run champ could be out of action into May. In the interim, Bruce will be New York’s primary first baseman, relays Hoch.
The Yankees will have to officially add Bruce to the 40-man roster before Opening Day. The 33-year-old has hit for plenty of power but struggled to reach base in recent years, combining for a .212/.259/.510 line with 32 home runs across 436 plate appearances since the start of 2019. That kind of production would be a steep drop-off from Voit, who raked at a .277/.338/.610 clip last year.
Bruce will at least offer a left-handed bat to help balance a righty-heavy lineup. Tauchman also offers a lefty bat off the bench, and he’s capable of playing anywhere in the outfield. He’ll be limited to reserve duty behind Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner, assuming he isn’t traded. The 30-year-old has drawn rather strong interest around the league.