Fourteen position players and 10 pitchers have secured spots on the active roster for the first round of the playoffs, but Torre and his coaches must decide whether it makes sense to take an 11th pitcher or a 15th position player.
Infielders Jason Giambi, Tino Martinez, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Bellhorn; catchers Jorge Posada and John Flaherty and outfielders Gary Sheffield, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, Ruben Sierra and Bubba Crosby will all be on the roster.
The 14th spot should go to Tony Womack, who is the Yankees’ best stolen-base threat off the bench.
Should they decide to take an 11th pitcher, it looks as though that decision will be between left-hander Alan Embree and right-hander Jaret Wright. If Torre opts for the position player, it would likely be Matt Lawton, unless he is taken as one of the 14 instead of Womack.
The 10 pitchers on the roster are expected to be starters Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Shawn Chacon, Chien-Ming Wang and Aaron Small, and relievers Mariano Rivera, Tom Gordon, Tanyon Sturtze, Al Leiter and Scott Proctor.
Leiter and Proctor were informed by Torre before Sunday’s game that they had made the playoff roster.
Reserve players Mike Vento, Andy Phillips and relievers Ramiro Mendoza and Felix Rodriguez will go home from Boston. Left-hander Wayne Franklin and infielder Felix Escalona will report to the Yankees’ complex in Tampa to work out in case they are needed beyond the first round.
I thought this morning that Proctor and Leiter would probably make it. I’m thrilled that Felix Rodriguez was sent home. But, why not send Andy Phillips to Tampa too – just in case?
So, it’s two spots with four names.
Matt Lawton offers no value whatsoever – he can’t hit or field and is not a burner on the bases. He should be sent home as well. That leaves it to Wright, Embree, and Womack.
Embree has not fooled any batters this year. He should go to Tampa as well – in case Leiter breaks an ankle or something. Therefore, by default, the last two spots should go to Womack and Wright.
But, if Wright’s pitching now with some sort of shoulder issue, then I might even suggest considering Wayne Franklin over him.