Reporters are doing two very different things on the day before a playoff series. The beat writers are asking very specific questions about roster decisions and lineup choices. We’re wondering about the current whereabouts of a guy like Ivan Nova, who some other reporters in the room have never even heard of.
The national writers and columnists are here to do bigger picture stories. Nick Swisher was asked again about his mechanical adjustments. CC Sabathia was asked about his playoff success last season. Joe Girardi was asked about filling the gaps left by Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.
I’m going to assume most of you know that Swisher trusts Kevin Long and that Girardi loves Robinson Cano. For today’s blog, I’m going to focus more on the nuts and bolts, starting with the pitching staff.
“Our plans are to go with a three-man rotation,” Girardi said. “If we have to change that, with the roster that we have, it gives us the flexibility to do that. A.J. will pitch out of the bullpen, but if he needed to start a game, he will start a game for us unless he was used (out of the pen).”
As for the bullpen.
“We really liked the way (Mitre’s) sinker has been working lately and the way he has been throwing the ball. And we felt we needed another guy to give us distance in case the first scenario came up… If A.J. has to make a start, you don’t really have a guy that can give you distance if you get in an extra-inning game except for Moseley.”
• Despite starting on Sunday, Moseley is available to pitch immediately. Girardi said he can pitch tomorrow if necessary.
• Girardi said he has a lineup in mind, but he wants to sleep on it. Asked if that looming decision centers on his outfield, Girardi said, “Yes.” I have to believe that means he’s deciding between Brett Gardner and Austin Kearns against the lefty Francisco Liriano.
• The Yankees wanted Ramiro Pena over Eduardo Nunez because of Pena’s experience at second and third. “We felt Pena was the more experienced guy if you get in those situations,” Girardi said.
• The Yankees wanted Greg Golson over Nunez because of Nick Swisher’s recent knee problems. “He’s not banged up now, he feels good,” Girardi said. “But we felt that it was probably in our best interests to carry a defensive outfielder in case something happens in this series. (Golson) is also a guy that can pinch-run for you if you wanted.”
• Close to carrying Royce Ring? “He was definitely in the discussion,” Girardi said.
• Ring, Nunez, Nova and Jonathan Albaladejo have been sent to Tampa to keep working out and stay sharp in case the Yankees need them.
• Girardi on Andy Pettitte in Game 2: “We felt with all the left-handed hitters, we would try to throw four lefties at them in five games.”
• If the Yankees get to the ALCS, Burnett seems to be the front runner to be the fourth starter. “I hope we have the discussion,” Girardi said.
• Sabathia in response to a question about the unpredictability of the rotation beyond him: “I don’t see what you guys are saying about uncertainty. Andy Pettitte is the best pitcher in the playoffs in the history of baseball, so I think our rotation starts up pretty good against anybody.”
Associated Press photos of Jeter and Sabathia