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Notes: No answer on Game 3 starter
10/05/2004 7:47 PM ET
NEW YORK -- The Yankees decided that Orlando Hernandez's chances of pitching in the Division Series were good enough to give him a spot on the roster. Now, they have to decide over the next two days whether he can take the ball in Minnesota on Friday or Saturday.

Hernandez played catch on flat ground on Tuesday, saying that he felt better than he did on Monday before saying that his tired right shoulder was still not 100 percent.

"I'm still not feeling good. Maybe tomorrow I'll try a bullpen if I feel good," Hernandez said. "It's sore, tired, but there's no pain. That's good."

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre wouldn't say whether he thought Hernandez's chances to start Game 3 or 4 have improved, saying that he would have to reserve judgment until he saw El Duque throw off a mound.

"He felt all right, but all he did was play catch," Stottlemyre said. "Until he shows me something positive, we're still up in the air."

"I don't have control of it, it's an injury," said Hernandez, who is less than 18 months removed from shoulder surgery. "I want to pitch, but I want to stay healthy, too."

Manager Joe Torre said before Tuesday's game that he and Stottlemyre would probably wait until Wednesday night to make their decision on a Game 3 starter.

"Mel and I talked about it yesterday and we agreed to wait until after Game 1, possibly even Game 2, because we don't have to make a decision until then," Torre said. "We're not hiding it, we just don't know."

Torre said that the status of the series won't be the determining factor, though he added that it could play a minor part in the decision.

"When you make a decision, who knows what can enter into the decision-making?" Torre said. "But that's not why we're waiting."

If Hernandez can't go, Javier Vazquez would likely get the call, leaving Kevin Brown to start Game 4 for New York. He doesn't have the postseason resume that Hernandez boasts, as El Duque is 9-3 in October for the Yankees since 1998.

"We put him on there knowing what drives him. We feel he'll be a part of it, but we still have to live in real time and make sure that he can," Torre said. "Once he comes around, he won't need any testing. He'll just go out and perform."

Jason's out: The Yankees handed in their official postseason roster on Tuesday morning, and, as expected, Jason Giambi's name was not listed.

Giambi was left off when the Yankees opted to go with 11 pitchers, taking Esteban Loaiza as insurance for Brown and Hernandez.

"When I told him yesterday that it was probably what we were going to do, he said, 'Whatever you want to do,'" Torre said, recounting his conversation with Giambi. "He was really frustrated over the weekend trying to get this thing figured out, but he's not there."

Giambi, who missed significant time in the second half of the season because of a benign tumor, went just 4-for-33 after returning to action in mid-September. Torre said that Giambi could rejoin the active roster should the Yankees advance past the Twins, as he will continue to take batting practice and work with hitting coach Don Mattingly.

"We're not discounting if we go beyond here that he's not going to be a part of it, but now isn't the right time," Torre said. "I would have taken him, because I think he'll scare people in the lineup. But with Duque's situation, I felt it best that we carry the extra pitcher."

Bernie cleaning up: Bernie Williams was back in his familiar cleanup spot for the ALDS opener against the Twins, as Torre used the lineup he typically employs against left-handed pitchers.

Williams has hit fourth throughout much of Torre's tenure in the Bronx, but this year has been a subpar season for him, as he hit just .262 with 22 home runs and 70 RBIs in 148 games. Despite his season totals, Torre believes that Williams' experience in October can carry him through.

"He's been down this road before in the postseason," Torre said. "He likes taking on that kind of responsibility. We kid a lot about Bernie, but I think he understands the responsibilities, too."

Williams will likely be the everyday center fielder in the playoffs, with Ruben Sierra starting as the team's designated hitter. But Torre didn't shut the door on giving Kenny Lofton a game in center, which would shift Williams to the DH role.

"I'd like to take it day by day, because I think it's only fair to do that after having Kenny being a part of this thing all year long," Torre said. "We'll go day by day, not make any promises to anybody."

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


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