Extra Bases

News and Notes from Game 1 pre-game

NEW YORK – Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Nick Blackburn will start Game 2 on Friday but is leaving Game 3 “TBA” so he can decide between Carl Pavano and Scott Baker “depending on who feels better” for that start.

After their exciting 6-5 playoff win over the Tigers last night at the Metrodome, their pitching staff is depleted.

“Well, there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “We’ve done what we have to do. We kind of got ourselves into that 163rd game at the Metrodome and we had to let the Vikings and Packers play. We couldn’t do anything about that. It is what it is. And no sense – no crying in baseball. I don’t think anybody feels sorry for us. We’re just going to come out and I think the boys will be ready tonight.”

* Yankees roster: The Yankees went with three catchers (Francisco Cervelli, Jose Molina and Jorge Posada); 11 pitchers (Alfredo Aceves, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke, Chad Gaudin, Phil Hughes, Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte, Marinao Rivera, David Robertson and CC Sabathia); Four infielders (Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira; Five outfielders: Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher; Two utility: Jerry Hairston Jr., Eric Hinske.

*Twins roster: Twelve pitchers: Scott Baker, NIck Blackburn, Jesse Crain, Brian Duensing, Matt Guerrier, Bobby Keppel, Francisco Liriano, Ron Mahay, Jose Mijares, Joe Nathan, Carl Pavano, Jon Rauch; Three catchers: Joe Mauer, Jose Morales, Mike Redmond; Five infielders: Orlando Cabrera, Alexi Casilla, Brenbdan Harris, Mick Punto, Matt Tolbert; Fivbe outfielders: Micahel Cuddyer, Carlos Gomez, Jason Kubel, Denard Span, Delmon Young.

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*Why third catcher for Yanks?
“With the third catcher if Molina starts a game and we pinch-hit for him late. And we want to pinch-run for Posada. That gives us the option to do that,” Girardi said

*Why Marte as an extra lefty (along with Coke):
“With the lineup Minnesota has, we thought it was beneficial to have a second left-hander,” Girardi explained.

*Girardi said after yesterday’s workout the coaches, front office and scouts got together and began watching the Tigers-Twins game in a meeting room near Brian Cashman’s office. “Obviously a game of that length, we walked around a bit as well. But as soon as the game was over we went right and dissected Minnesota with our scouts upstairs who had been watching them for the last three or four weeks. And I think I got home around 11:45.”

*Girardi on Twins, who were beaten by the Yankees in all seven meetings this season:
“To me it’s a lot of the same team. They were gritty then and they’re gritty now. And they’re going to do little things. They’re going to play aggressive at times. They’re going to fight you tooth and nail. So to me, the club really hasn’t changed.”

*Girardi said no rules for any of his pitchers. While Mariano Rivera was confined to four outs tops, he’s free to pitch as much as the Yankees needed him. Ditto Joba Chamberlain and Phillip Hughes. “We’re not afraid to use Hughes for four or five outs in a situation like this.”

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*Gardenhire on last night’s game:

“I don’t recommend everybody playing 163 games every year. It would be a lot easier to go a different route and do what the Yankees did or some of the other guys. Just play 162 and then you’re in the playoffs. But you know what? It’s character. I mean it’s kind of mind-boggling. I was so proud of both teams last night for the way both teams never quit and kept getting after it. I told Jim Leyland after the game that that was one of the best games I’ve ever been involved with. It was just fantastic for baseball.”

*What Orlando Cabrera has meant to the Twins?

“We were scuffling along having a little trouble in the middle infield. Made a few moves, picking him up was something that……we were actually playing in Oakland and kept telling our GM, get this guy before he beats us four games in Oakland. He’s been there. He’s not afraid. We’ve got some young players I wanted him to be able to help out, too. And he’s done that. He’s been leading by example, actually with his bat. Playing really good baseball, but he’s been really a positive influence on our baseball team.”

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