10/04/2002 7:18 pm ET
MLBeat: White could pinch-hit
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rondell White's strained left hamstring is showing improvement, but not to the point where he can play the outfield.
"Rondell said he felt better, but I'm still hesitant to let him do anything more than pinch-hit," said manager Joe Torre. "He wants to play, but I have to go with my own judgment and that of the trainers. They know the degree of it, and this isn't something that can get well overnight."
White injured his leg running to first base in the eighth inning of Game 1, three innings after he hit his first career postseason home run.
Torre said that he would be comfortable using White as a pinch-hitter should the right situation present itself.
"If you think the matchup is the right thing, you'd use him," Torre said. "You have other choices -- Vander Wal, Spencer, Coomer -- so it would be if they had a certain pitcher you think he could handle."
Torre also raised the possibility that White could potentially be used as the Yankees' designated hitter in either Game 4 or 5, though he said that decision would be a day-to-day proposition.
"This is what you push the envelope to save people for," Torre said. "Maybe even by tomorrow or Sunday, he could be OK to DH. Right now, I'm only comfortable using him as a pinch-hitter, and we'd have to run for him."
Bernie feeling blue? Bernie Williams is nursing a sore left ribcage, though Torre said it wouldn't keep the center fielder out of the lineup in the series.
"It's something he felt before Game 1," Torre said. "Is that enough said?"
Williams hit a game-winning three-run home run in the eighth inning of Game 1 in New York.
"We're at a point in the season, where if it was 10 days or two weeks ago, he wouldn't be playing," Torre said. "But this is where you are right now. You hope everything holds together."
Looking at lineup: The Yankees' lineup for Game 3 was very similar to that of Game 2, with a couple of minor exceptions. Jason Giambi will play first base, as Nick Johnson becomes New York's designated hitter. Johnson, who batted seventh in Game 2, will bat eighth, as Raul Mondesi moves up into the seven spot.
The Yankees are batting .299 (20-for67) in the first two games of the ALDS, though Giambi (4-for-7) and Derek Jeter (5-for-7) have accounted for almost half of New York's hits.
"You need the offense from where you're getting it now," Torre said. "The top of the batting order is very important for us."
Jeter is batting .714 with two home runs, two RBIs, two walks and four runs scored. His career postseason average now stands at .313, and his 98 playoff hits are a Major-League record.
"He really steps it up. His mental game is so much sharper," Torre said. "This is like a football mentality when you get to postseason. During the season, you have to eliminate the highs and lows because you play so often. When you get here and you play five games or seven games, you have to get as high as you can get as far as your mental capacity."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.