TAMPA — While the Yankees took advantage of a team-friendly free-agent market to sign Neil Walker on Monday, general manager Brian Cashman said they were not in on Lance Lynn, who ended up in Minnesota.
The Yankees rotation is set — for now — with Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery, along with Masahiro Tanaka, who gave up two runs in four innings in a 2-1 loss to the Twins at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
He also gave up his second homer of the spring after surrendering a career-high 35 home runs last season.
Tanaka said he isn’t concerned about his results at this point — including the homers.
“I’m trying to work on things,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I think things are starting to come together. Obviously, this was better than my first game here. My mechanics are a little bit off.”
With Lynn in Minnesota and Jake Arrieta in Philadelphia, the only established pitcher remaining on the market is Alex Cobb.
The Yankees could re-enter the market during the season, especially given their wealth of prospects, but if they need added starting pitching, they may also consider their own prospects, such as Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield.
Reggie Jackson injured his right knee Monday morning when he fell while walking in Tampa and will undergo surgery on Tuesday, according to the Yankees. He was treated by the Yankees’ medical staff and was said to be in good spirits. The 71-year-old Hall of Famer is a frequent presence at spring training in his role as a special adviser with the team.
Aaron Boone said while Jacoby Ellsbury is making progress in his comeback from an oblique injury, he might not be ready for Opening Day.
“We’re probably getting into that range where we’re butting up against it,’’ Boone said of whether Ellsbury would have enough time to be in game-shape for the first series in Toronto. “That could become a factor, no question. Even so, for the long-term, he’s moving in the right direction. Whether it’s delayed by a few days at the start, I don’t think it’s gonna be that big a deal. He’s close.”
Ellsbury still needs to start running, but Boone believes he will be able to play in a Grapefruit League game soon.
“I don’t want to get into days, but we’ll start to get it on the schedule, depending on how these next couple days go with everything starting to progress the right way for him,’’ Boone said.
With Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks , Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton all healthy, the Yankees don’t need to rush Ellsbury back.
Clint Frazier, who has been out with concussion symptoms, was “status quo,” according to Boone.
Greg Bird insists he’s not concerned with his lack of production at the plate this spring.
“I feel good,” Bird said before Monday’s game. “I’m focused on being ready for Opening Day and I feel like I’m on track for that. I’m not worried about results right now. As long as I feel good, I’ll be fine.”
Bird missed all of 2016 after shoulder surgery and was sidelined for much of last season after fouling a ball of his ankle in the Yankees’ last exhibition game of the spring in Atlanta.
Monday’s signing of Neil Walker helped lead to several other moves by the Yankees, including the release of Danny Espinosa . To make room on the 40-man roster, they designated OF Jake Cave for assignment. In addition, infielder Kyle Holder was reassigned to minor league camp.
Tyler Austin hit his third homer of the spring when he took former Yankee Phil Hughes deep in the fourth.
Ronald Torreyes had some difficulty on the basepaths after leading off the bottom of the third with a double. He misread Tyler Wade’s shot to right and started back to second before reversing course and was thrown out at home.
With his velocity down after TOS surgery, Hughes said he looks at CC Sabathia as a role model for how to keep succeeding after your fastball diminishes: “A lot of people thought he was done, and he got another one-year contract.”
Sabathia takes the mound when the Yankees host the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday.
— with Ken Davidoff