NEW YORK -- The Yankees' clubhouse got a little tighter on Thursday, with touted Minor League prospects Andrew Brackman, Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances joining the team for pregame workouts.
Since Brackman, unlike the other two, is on the team's 40-man roster, he was officially recalled and will be in uniform on Thursday, although he said he was not planning on pitching in the Major Leagues this season.
Montero and Betances, on the other hand, will watch the game from the stands after participating in the pregame routine.
"I'm not really expecting much of anything. I just want to be here and soak it up," said Brackman. "I don't expect to pitch, but I'd love to be in the dugout."
General manager Brian Cashman did say that Brackman would be available in the bullpen if manager Joe Girardi wants to use him.
Brackman, a 24-year-old, 6-foot-10 right-hander, was 10-11 with a 3.90 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) between high Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
Betances is another tall right-hander, coming in at 6-foot-8. The 22-year-old went 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 17 starts between Tampa and Trenton.
"It's an honor to be here," said Betances, who was born in Brooklyn and used to attend games at the old Yankee Stadium. "I never thought I'd be in this situation. It's a wonderful feeling."
Montero, who doesn't turn 21 until the end of November, hit .289 with 21 homers and 75 RBIs for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The catcher of the future hopes he's here for the long haul.
"For four years working in the Minors, I'm finally here. Now I want to work hard to stay here all the time," Montero said.
Bringing Minor League prospects into the clubhouse without dressing them in uniform isn't uncommon for the Yankees this time in September, including with Phil Hughes.
"[It's] just to have a feeling what it's like up here, the atmosphere," Girardi said. "Simple things like getting familiar with the clubhouse, where everything's at and how it works around here."
Betances admitted to getting lost a few times already in his first trip to the new Yankee Stadium, while Brackman couldn't get over the magnitude of the park.
"It blew me away," he said. "When I walked out on the field for the first time, it was amazing how big the place is. Everything is so nice and first class. It's pretty much what I thought it would be."
Girardi prepares, doesn't second-guess
NEW YORK -- Just because manager Joe Girardi has heard the boos and the criticism for how he has used his players of late doesn't mean he's listening to it.
"I really believe that if you don't have a belief system and if you're not prepared, then you will be influenced by outside influences," Girardi said. "You can't be influenced if people don't necessarily like what you're doing. Our game lends itself to a lot of that [second-guessing], and I'm OK with that."
Girardi's cautious use of his bullpen was on display on Wednesday, when he went to Royce Ring, Dustin Moseley, Chad Gaudin and Jonathan Albaladejo in a crucial matchup against the Rays. All four allowed at least one earned run in the 7-2 loss.
Afterward, Girardi explained that David Robertson was unavailable because of back spasms and that he wanted to stay away from Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain.
He understands that the subsequent criticism is all part of being the manager of the Yankees. That's why he leaves the second-guessing to others.
Asked if he second-guesses himself, Girardi replied, "Very seldom, because of the preparation that we do. I'm not a whim guy. Not every decision that you make is going to work."
Ring on Yanks' radar after solid relief effort
NEW YORK -- Even though it came after a loss, you could understand the sentiment expressed by left-handed reliever Royce Ring.
"I just texted my wife that I'm on cloud nine right now," Ring said Wednesday after appearing in his first Major League game in more than two years. "It's just a great feeling, and to do it with this organization is great."
Indeed, nine days ago, Ring was back in San Diego, taking his daughter to the doctor when he received an unexpected callup from general manager Brian Cashman. The 29-year-old had gone home after not initially being promoted following a terrific season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, in which he went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA.
Ring made his Yankees debut on Wednesday, entering the game after a prolonged rain delay and working 1 2/3 hitless innings and striking out two. Ring did allow a run that scored after his departure.
"It was nice to get out there and try to throw strikes and get outs quickly," said Ring, who hadn't pitched since Sept. 9. "I was happy with the result."
Although it's unlikely Ring can do enough in the last week and a half to earn a spot on the postseason roster, it wouldn't be unprecedented. Just last season, the Yankees spent much of the season using Phil Coke as their only left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. But manager Joe Girardi decided to add the struggling Damaso Marte to the playoff roster, a move that paid off in the World Series.
"He got guys out from the left side at Triple-A all year," Cashman said. "You never know."
"I wouldn't count anything out at this time. We're still evaluating," Girardi said.
Reliever David Robertson played catch before Thursday's game and said his lower back, bothered earlier in the week by spasms, felt better. Robertson hopes to be able to pitch on Friday. ... Brett Gardner was given a routine night off on Thursday, with Greg Golson getting the start in left field. ... According to the Elias Stats Bureau, Derek Jeter has played in 1,376 victories, tied for most in franchise history with Mickey Mantle. Omar Vizquel is the only active player to play in more wins than Jeter, with 1,477. ... Joba Chamberlain turns 25 on Thursday.