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|Yankee roster decisions|
Joe Torre said he agonizes more over the 25th postseason roster spot than any other decision he makes, even the rotation or lineup. He may spend 24-hours with his staff deciding who the 15th player or 11th pitcher will be -- a player likely will never appear in a single game. Crosby's a strong possibility if Torre takes 10 pitchers as he'd like to do, but Kevin Brown's situation will probably dictate Torre's decision.
If you know anything about Brown, and his gruff, often isolated demeanor as well as the volatility that caused him to punch out a clubhouse wall after that Sept. 3 loss to Baltimore and lose, you would understand Torre's assessment of his discipline for his injured pitcher. Torre said he didn't have to say much to his highest-paid pitcher ... Brown took it upon himself to apologize to his teammates, and as Torre put it, "nothing could be harder on Kevin than that."
After his bullpen workouts at Fenway Park, Brown was asked if he'd be willing to pitch in relief. Brown said, "I will if I have to." He didn't have to, nor throw a simulated game, nor do a minor league rehab since there are no more minor league games. Why not test him for an inning in relief? Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, and Torre confirmed, Brown wanted to start. So they threw him out there Sunday and he got tattooed. But this way, they can see him one more time before the season ends.
By contrast, Jason Giambi missed the entire Red Sox series, save a meaningless pinch-hitting appearance, after hitting a home run this week that ended the longest hitless drought of his career. Torre's big on putting players in positions to succeed in, and with "Pedro, a knuckler, and Schilling going, we didn't want him to go backwards." Giambi's almost certain to sit out against Johan Santana this week, too, but he'll get some at-bats and be on the postseason roster. Giambi described that home run Tuesday against Toronto, like "coming out of a trainwreck," in contrast to the rest of this bizarre season. But he's happy to be healthy again, improving, and willing to do anything, even pinch-hit if that's what's asked of him. He called the standing ovation he got in Yankee Stadium after that home run the most satisfying of the many he's been called out for in New York and Oakland.
Gary Miller is a reporter and play-by-play announcer for ESPN's major league baseball coverage.