Joe Girardi has this spring said that: 1. He envisions either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain pitching out of the bullpen rather than the Triple-A rotation, and 2. He would prefer to carry a second left-handed reliever. Add Chan Ho Park to that mix and six of the seven bullpen spots are already filled (Rivera, Marte, Robertson, Park, the second lefty, and Hughes/Chamberlain). Even if the Yankees elect not to carry the second lefty, it seems impossible that the Yankees will have room for all three of Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves, to say nothing of someone like Mark Melancon.
“We’ll make sure that we take what we feel are the 12 best arms,” Girardi said. “Having quality arms in your camp, and more quality arms in spots, is a luxury. It’s just our job to try and make the right decisions.”
The Park signing seems to especially impact Gaudin, Mitre and Aceves because they all serve basically the same role when they’re pitching in relief. I didn’t get a chance to ask Gaudin, but both Mitre and Aceves said they are thinking more about a rotation spot than worrying about a potential bullpen role.
“If I get put in the pen, I guess I have to pitch out of the pen,” Mitre said. “But I’m not shooting for a bullpen role.”
Not that I’m endorsing this, but the Yankees could — in theory – option Aceves back to Triple-A to work out of the rotation, giving the Yankees a sixth starter who’s stretched out and ready to spot start if necessary. Gaudin and Mitre are out of options.
“I was very impressed with Ace’s work last year,” Girardi said. “He was one of the guys we counted on last year, and we expect that to be the same.”
After what seemed to be a strong endorsement, Girardi added: “The thing about it is, every year you have to earn it. Some guys come into camp, you know they’re going with us, but you have to earn it every year.”
Here’s the Girardi audio. He starts by talking about Jesus Montero, but gets into the situations with the bullpen and with Burnett/Posada. The recording stops when he went looking for which day pitchers start throwing live batting practice. The answer is, Thursday.