Yankees ALDS Game 1 Notebook
Both teams had until 10 a.m. Friday to decide on a final division series roster and for the Yankees their final roster includes eight relievers.
Beyond the late inning guys, Boone Logan, A.J. Burnett, Luis Ayala, Cory Wade and Phil Hughes are in the bullpen.
Hughes could pitch in long-relief situations or in short relief. Girardi felt he could do both because he is stretched out as a starting pitcher and he had extensive experience as a short-inning relief pitcher two years ago.
Since Jorge Posada is the designated hitter, Jesus Montero will be the backup catcher and the other reserves are Eduardo Nunez, Andruw Jones and Chris Dickerson.
Detroit is expected to use a four-man rotation and went with starting pitcher Brad Penny for their final reliever. Ex-Met Omir Santos is the backup catcher since Victor Martinez hasn’t caught since August due to a knee injury.
Leyland gave Penny the final roster as a reward for being an 11-game winner as Detroit’s fifth starter. Though Penny had a 5.90 ERA and a .306 batting average against, he pitched 181 2/3 innings and Detroit won in 16 of his starts.
“You can say what you want about his statistics, whatever,” Leyland said. “He pitched 180 innings for the Detroit Tigers this year in the number five spot, [threw] 180 innings and won 11 games. That’s pretty good for a fifth starter. I think you have to do things right, and I think he deserved to be on this roster.”
Nick Swisher’s personality gives off the impression of someone who might be a little jumpy. Combined with a .205 average in September, a .232 average against right-handed pitching and poor postseason numbers for the Yankees, a little adjustment might be in order.
In the last few days Swisher worked with hitting Coach Kevin Long to remove some of the movement from his swing.
“My hope we see a different Swish,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought his at-bats when we got to Tampa really quieted down. He and Kevin Long worked on that, to try to take some of the movement out in the swing. And you hope it just starts today, that he doesn’t get too hyped up.
Some other ex-Yankees in the series
Austin Jackson is the obvious ex-Yankee in the series due to him being the top positional prospect of the Dec. 2009 trade to the Tigers for Curtis Granderson. That trade also included Phil Coke, who was the second Yankee lefty in the 2009 playoffs.
Coke was 1-8 when the Tigers experimented with him as a starting pitcher, something he did in the minors for the Yankees. After abandoning the experiment, Coke thrived as a reliever, going 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 29 appearances after the break. More importantly, he held lefties to a .215 average.
“I think he was probably a little bit relieved, although he’s a real pumped-up guy most of the time,” Leyland said. “So it’s probably something that he didn’t really want to admit, and I understand that. But I think he got a little more comfortable when he got back home in the bullpen. I think it really helped turn our bullpen around a little bit and solidify it.”
Another ex-Yankee on Detroit is Wilson Betemit, whom the Yankees sent to the White Sox after the 2008 season for Nick Swisher. Betemit was acquired by the Tigers from the Royals in July and batted .292 with 15 extra-base hits in 40 games.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.