As of Saturday, the plan for Nathan Eovaldi was to throw a 35-pitch bullpen today and face hitters somewhere down the road. There was some chance of him being in the bullpen for the division series, but the ALCS seemed more realistic.
In the wake of the CC Sabathia news, though, Eovaldi’s timetable has been accelerated.
This afternoon, Eovaldi threw a short 10-pitch bullpen, then he faced hitters for the first time since being shutdown with elbow inflammation in early September. Eovaldi said he hasn’t been told anything for certain, but he expects to be ready and available out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the division series.
“No chance tomorrow, especially after going today,” Eovaldi said. “But I would assume for Kansas City. I just got done out there, so I don’t know when I would be throwing next or what I need to do, but 25 or 30 pitches today. … Everything felt good. Felt good, just felt a little rusty. Other than that, it felt great.”
If the Yankees advance, they’ll have to find someone to fill Sabathia’s rotation spot. The most logical choices are surely Adam Warren or Ivan Nova. Warren probably makes the most sense, but losing him would deprive the Yankees of a go-to reliever. Maybe Eovaldi could fill that role while Warren helps fill Sabathia’s?
It would be a roll of the dice a little bit — Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in weeks, and he hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since 2011 — but that just might be the kind of risk the Yankees have to take under the circumstances.
They’re obviously hoping to face such a decision.
1. Stephen Drew is back with the team, but he’s still dealing with concussion symptoms and doesn’t expect to play again this year.
2. Slade Heathcott and Rico Noel stopped short of saying they’re definitely on the wild card roster, but each said he thought he would be (I assume that’s just a product of two rookies not wanting to reveal something before it’s been announced). They seem to be in.
3. Caleb Cotham, Nick Rumbelow and Branden Pinder each said they’re flying to Tampa to throw at the minor league complex and stay ready in case they’re needed in a future series, but none of those three will be on tomorrow’s roster. Jose Pirela is also going to Tampa to take some at-bats and stay ready, but he too will not be on the roster. Nick Goody and Chris Martin already had their lockers cleared out, so they clearly aren’t on the roster.
4. Chris Capuano said he’s staying with he big league team, but he won’t be on the roster tomorrow.
5. Adam Warren said he will definitely be in the bullpen tomorrow. The Yankees aren’t holding him back so that he can start in the division series. If Warren becomes a starter in the next round, it will be after he’s been in the bullpen on Tuesday.
6. It’s hard to believe Michael Pineda would be available after pitching Sunday.
7. Chasen Shreve told Marly Rivera that he will not be on the wild card game roster.
Barring a choice to carry three catchers — the Yankees could carry either Austin Romine or Gary Sanchez just to make pinch hitting, pinch running and double switches a little easier — the team’s wild card roster seems set:
Catchers: Brian McCann, John Ryan Murphy
Infielders: Greg Bird, Dustin Ackley, Rob Refsnyder, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley, Brendan Ryan
Outfielders: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Chris Young, Rico Noel, Slade Heathcott
Designated hitter: Alex Rodriguez
Starter: Masahiro Tanaka
Bullpen: Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, Adam Warren, Andrew Bailey, Bryan Mitchell, James Pazos, Ivan Nova, Luis Severino
If the Yankees have decided they don’t want both Nova and Severino — each of whom pitched Saturday and wouldn’t be able to give many innings — then they might as well carry a third catcher. Just to make it easy to either pinch run for someone or to use either McCann or Murphy as a pinch hitter.
Either way, it’s worth remembering this is a one-game-only roster decision. The Yankees can and will change the roster if they advance to the division series.
Associated Press photos