A healthy Yankees pitching staff should have Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning, Rafael Soriano and Dave Robertson handling the seventh and eighth, Boone Logan pitching from the left side, Cory Wade navigating some of the middle innings and the loser of the fifth-starter competition available for long relief.
Thats’s six spots in what is assumed to be a seven-man bullpen. As for the last spot? Well, the Yankees always seem to come into spring training considering a second lefty.
“I think you could use it,” Joe Girardi said this afternoon. “(But) you look at our guys in the late innings, you’re probably going to go to them, and you’re not going to worry about the second left-hander, so I don’t think it’s a necessity. But if you get a left-hander that can maybe give you a little distance or that you’re not afraid to use against right-handers, I think it could be valuable.”
Not exactly putting a premium on the lefty specialist, is he?
Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral is in camp and has a live arm from the left side. Clay Rapada is here on a minor league deal and has held big league lefties to a .153 batting average in his career. Mike O’Connor was a starter as recently as 2009 and has averaged more than an inning per outing his past two years in Triple-A. Juan Cedeno is kind of a great unknown with most of his recent experience coming outside of the United States.
If not a lefty, maybe another multi-inning guy — George Kontos, D.J. Mitchell, Brad Meyers — or someone who becomes this year’s Luis Ayala with a surprising spring training and an out-of-nowhere spot on the Opening Day roster.
As long as everyone stays healthy, this last job in the bullpen would seem to be the only roster spot up for grabs. Ultimately, the Yankees might just choose the guy who’s pitching the best and put him on the roster, whatever the role.
Assocaited Press photo of Cabral