Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Roster Update

Yesterday, the Yankees announced their World Series roster. Eric Hinske and blog favorite Brian Bruney have been added at the expense of Freddy Guzman and Francisco Cervelli.

The first swap was obvious. With the need for a pinch hitter in the National League park, Hinske became necessary and Guzman, functioning solely as a pinch runner, was the most expendable part. With Hideki Matsui coming off the bench in Philly as well, Hinkse will be the second best pinch hitting option, but still should see some action.

The absence of Guzman probably means that Brett Gardner won't be getting his first postseason start this series as Girardi will most likely keep him on the bench as a pinch running option. Jerry Hairston Jr. is a viable candidate for that role but is hardly a stolen base threat (only 7 for 11 this year) and therefore not much of a weapon.

Given the elimination of Cervelli, we can almost certainly infer that Jorge Posada will be catching A.J. Burnett in Game 2 (and presumably again if necessary), thus making having a third catcher on the roster superfluous. I was in favor of having Molina catch Burnett at the outset of the postseason, but it seems like the right move to let Posada catch him now. Burnett blew up with Molina behind the dish in Game 5 of the ALCS and worked well with Posada after he entered the game as a pinch hitter.

Bruney pitched in the instructional league down in Tampa during the ALDS but hasn't faced Major League hitting since October 2nd. The only frightening aspect of this move is that Girardi might try to use him for a fraction of an inning when it counts instead of relegating him strictly to mop-up duty. With Chad Gaudin unavailable for Games 1 & 2 after throwing an extended bullpen session yesterday, it seems likely that Bruney would be the last man out of the 'pen.

The Phillies made a move and an announcement of their own. Consummate gentleman and class act Brett Myers has been added to the roster - after recovering from a strained lat muscle - at the expense of utility man and former Yankee Miguel Cairo - a move Joe Torre is certainly frowning upon from afar for a couple of reasons. Charlie Manuel also declared that Pedro Martinez will be starting Game 2 at Yankee Stadium.

Pedro was chosen over Cole Hamels, who had an average season at best and has been shaky in 3 postseason starts (14.2 IP, 6.75 ERA). Pedro has pitched once since September 30th, was brilliant against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS, allowing two hits and no walks in 7 innings. But that was in Southern California in a pitcher's park against a National League line-up.

It will make for a quite the interesting dynamic. I wouldn't be surprised if Pedro was excellent or if he got bounced in the third inning. One way or another the familiar refrain offered by the Yankee Stadium faithful will be chanted ad nauseum when he's on the mound. Should be good theater either way.

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