3/28 – Yankees at Braves

The Great American Long Relief Battle gets underway this afternoon at Disney World, as Brett Tomko, Alfredo Aceves and Dan Giese will – in that order – try to convince Joe Girardi and the coaching staff that they should be the Yankees’ long reliever.

The idea is that each pitcher will get three innings to showcase his stuff. Tomko has had the best spring of the trio, but he’s coming in at a disadvantage since both Aceves and Giese are on the 40-man roster and had opportunities last season to showcase their wares.

Girardi said that today is “important for all of them” and lauded Tomko’s health after arm surgery last year. All three pitchers are strike-throwers and can pitch multiple innings, and Girardi said that he is not leaning any one way consdiderably.

“That’s probably why it’s so even in my eyes,” he said.

Think the long reliever role isn’t important? Well, first, consider how many starts a guy like Darrell Rasner made last year … and then now think that Joba Chamberlain still has an innings limitation where he may only pitch five innings some games.

In other decisions, Girardi said he plans to meet with his coaches and Brian Cashman either Sunday or Monday to hammer out some other lingering items, including the utility role (Angel Berroa vs. Ramiro Pena) and assorted choices in the bullpen.

“There’s going to be some tough send-downs,” Girardi said. “But that doesn’t mean those guys aren’t going to be up during the season.”

On to the lineups:

Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Xavier Nady RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Cody Ransom 3B
Kevin Cash C
Brett Tomko RHP


Jordan Schafer CF
Yunel Escobar SS
Chipper Jones 3B
Brian McCann C
Greg Norton 1B
Matt Diaz RF
Brandon Jones LF
Martin Prado 2B
Jair Jurrjens RHP


It doesn’t look good for Giese and that’s too bad because he was good last year.


I really don’t know who Girardi is going to pick here. All 3 are very good pitchers and I think would do a very good job. Based on this spring, I would give it to Tomko, but you can’t overlook what Aceves and Giese did last year and how productive they both were. Its going to be interesting who gets the job.


Say hi to Mickey!



Ah, a good old fashioned 3 way duel. I am betting on Aceves, with Tomko as the dark horse. But it does seem like it will go to the wire on this one.


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