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El Duque uncertain about Game 3
10/04/2004 5:30 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Orlando Hernandez isn't sure whether he'll be able to make his Game 3 start against the Twins, but it appears as though the Yankees are willing to take the risk that he will and put him on the roster for the American League Division Series.

Hernandez, who has been battling a tired right shoulder for the past week or two, threw on flat ground on Monday and could try throwing a bullpen session on Tuesday.

Although manager Joe Torre wouldn't say for sure that Hernandez would be placed on the roster, general manager Brian Cashman all but confirmed that the Yankees will take 11 pitchers, meaning that Jason Giambi will likely not be eligible for the first round.

"Obviously if we went with 10 pitchers, Jason would be an option for us as a man on the bench. If we go with 11 pitchers, he's not," Cashman said. "Our intention is to go with 11 pitchers, with Giambi probably being off and Duque obviously being an issue."

Hernandez said that he feels better, but he's not at 100 percent yet. He described his shoulder as feeling "dead," saying that there was inflammation, a normal side effect while rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

"I need to go day-to-day," Hernandez said through an interpreter. "I can't take risks with a tired arm or hurt arm coming off of surgery. You can be sure that if I'm fine, I will be pitching."

Giambi, on the other hand, will probably not be able to help his team in the ALDS, as it appears that he will be left off the roster in favor of Esteban Loaiza, who would provide insurance for New York as a long reliever.

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Giambi has been trying to return after missing 1 1/2 months because of a benign tumor, but he went just 4-for-33 since coming off the disabled list in mid-September.

"I'm not going to look at it as a disappointment," said Giambi when asked about the chance of not being on the roster. "I would have regretted not trying to come back. It was never about ego, I just wanted to try to come back and help this team. If Joe thinks there's somebody better, I can't blame him."

Should Giambi be left off the roster, he would likely remain with the team and continue to take batting practice. Torre has said that Giambi could be a possibility in a later round of the postseason, should the Yankees advance past the Twins.

"I've been taking batting practice, working hard with Donnie [Yankees hitting coach Mattingly] and just going and going. I'm working out, trying to turn the corner," Giambi said. "I've made some huge strides."

Hernandez is penciled in for Game 3, though Kevin Brown or Javier Vazquez could step in if he's not able to pitch.

"Friday is the end of the week, and that's a long time to try to predict what's going to happen," Torre said. "So if we feel that there is a possibility that he could pitch for us, then we'll take the 11 pitchers."

Hernandez said that he's not concerned about his health, but rather his responsibility to his teammates.

"What concerns me right now is that I'm responsible for the third game, and I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do it or not," he said. "I don't need to be 100 percent. If I can throw my fastball, curve, slider and changeup, I'll be on the mound."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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