Final Roster Spots: 7th Reliever

Throughout the day, I will be looking at the battles for the final spots on the Yankees roster: the last reliever, the battle for CF, and the utility infielder fight. I’ll start with the 7th reliever.

As of now, it seems clear that Mariano Rivera, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, and Phil Coke will make the opening day roster barring injury. It was assumed for most of spring training that the Yankees would carry a long reliever to fill that final slot, with Dan Giese, Alfredo Aceves, and Brett Tomko being the candidates. However, Joe Girardi suggested this afternoon that the battle for the final relief spot is more complicated than that:

So it looks like Joe Girardi may not take a long reliever after all.
This morning at 8:30 a.m., Girardi talked about the competition between Brett Tomko, Dan Giese and Alfredo Aceves, discussing the importance of today’s game since all three were pitching.
But when someone asked Girardi if the rest of the bullpen was pretty much settled, the manager said something interesting.

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Bruney and Giese Continue To Struggle, Tomko Strong

Notable performances from the Yankees 8-3 defeat at the hands of the Phillies earlier today:

1) Brian Bruney continued his putrid spring, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, on of which was a home run by Mat Stairs, in one inning. He also notched two strikeouts, and thankfully was able to avoid the base on balls. According to Pete Abe, Bruney’s job is not in danger, but Joe Girardi has mentioned that Brian really needs to get it going. Bruney may be assured of a roster spot, but I could see him losing his hold on the 8th inning if he does not string together some decent performances.

2) Nick Swisher was not thrilled with Girardi’s decision to go with Xavier Nady in right field, but he seems to have a good attitude about the whole thing:

“This is a great team and we have an opportunity to do some wonderful things this year. I want to be a part of that; I want to win.

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Chase Wright Designated For Assignment

Chase Wright, one of the Yankees few left handed pitching prospects and # 26 on EJ’s top 30 prospects list, was designated for assignment to make room for Andy Pettitte on the 40 man roster (Pete Abe). The Yankees likely had to choose between Chase and Dan Giese, and felt that Giese was a better bet to help the team in 2009.

Wright is a better prospect than most Yankees fans would give him credit for, as giving up four consecutive home runs to the hated Red Sox on national television is likely to skew opinions about a pitcher’s abilities. Wright pitched very well at both AA and AAA last season, and should be able to give the Yankees or some other MLB club decent numbers out of the bullpen right now.  Although I hope that he passes through waivers, I find it more likely that some pitching starved NL team will nab him.… Click here to read the rest