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Yanks roster set, Bubba makes it03/29/2004 3:55 AM ET
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
TOKYO -- Bubba Crosby struck out to end Monday's exhibition loss to the Hanshin Tigers, the last game the Yankees will play before opening the season on Tuesday against the Devil Rays. As he walked back to the dugout, Crosby didn't know whether or not he would be eligible to play in the season-opener, but he wouldn't have to wait long for the news.
Manager Joe Torre called the 27-year-old outfielder into his office and delivered the news to him.
"I have good news and bad news," Torre said. "The bad news is that you struck out to end the game. The good news, is that you made the club."
With that, Crosby exhaled a giant breath, no longer having to wonder whether or not he would be wearing an interlocking "NY" on his cap, or one with a Columbus Clippers logo.
"You try not to think about it, but it's in the back of your mind," Crosby said. "I knew that today was the last day, that I'd get a call into the office and it would be good news or bad news. It's been tough to relax and enjoy Japan, because in the back of your mind, you're wondering if it's going to be good or bad.
"I haven't spoken to him much and I don't really know his personality, so I didn't know what to expect," Crosby said of his meeting with Torre. "He told me the bad news was that I struck out in my last at-bat. At that point, I had a good idea, because nothing else was going to be good."
Crosby has impressed Torre this spring with his aggressive play in the outfield, at the plate and on the basepaths. In 17 spring games, Crosby hit .385 (15-for-39) with two home runs and 11 RBIs, making some spectacular catches and even hitting an inside-the-park grand slam.
"I'm on cloud nine. It's an unbelievable feeling," said Crosby, who planned to call his parents and girlfriend in Houston as soon as possible. "Coming into camp, it wasn't even a consideration. I just wanted to show them a few tools that I had that they may have lacked, which was speed and the ability to play all three outfield positions."
Crosby beat out Darren Bragg for the spot, meaning the Yankees do not have to make a move on their 40-man roster. Crosby, who was acquired in last summer's Robin Ventura trade with Los Angeles, was on the roster, while Bragg was a non-roster invitee this spring.
"He had the advantage because he was on our roster, but I can honestly say that it wasn't the main reason he made our club," Torre said. "Bragg played well enough to make our club, but so did Bubba, so it was an easy decision."
"It's disappointing, but this is the Yankees. They're the best team in baseball, so it's a tough team to make," Bragg said. "I feel like I had a good spring, took care of my end of the business, but the numbers didn't shake out. I'll just keep grinding."
Torre announced the rest of the Opening Day 25-man roster as well, informing pitchers Donovan Osborne and Jorge De Paula that they made the club. The two pitchers will start the season in the bullpen, as the Yankees do not need a fifth starter until April 10.
"I told both of them that we'll need a starter on the 10th, and I'm not sure which one will do it," Torre said. "Usually you get a pretty good idea when you get close to that date, so that's how we'll approach it."
In addition to Bragg, the odd men out were infielders Felix Escalona and Homer Bush, as well as right-hander Scott Proctor. All three players will begin the season with Triple-A Columbus, but will remain with the team in Tokyo, even dressing in uniform for the two games against Tampa Bay.
"I wouldn't say I'm disappointed, it just gives me a little more motivation to go down there and prove them wrong," Proctor said. "It was out of my control. I left it all on the field while I was here, so I'll have to take what I can away from the experience."
"We feel that he needs to sharpen up a little bit, be more consistent," Torre said. "He asked what he needed to work on, and he's going down with a good attitude."
The Yankees officially placed three players on the 15-day disabled list: Jon Lieber (groin), Travis Lee (left shoulder) and Orlando Hernandez (right shoulder). Steve Karsay (right shoulder) was placed on the 60-day DL earlier this spring.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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