10/15/09 2:40 PM EST
Yanks opt for Guzman's speed over Hinske
Pinch-running threat may be valuable late off bench in ALCS
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday that New York will drop utility man Eric Hinske from the roster. Hinske did not appear in the three-game AL Division Series sweep of the Twins.
"We thought that we could use another speed guy in this round," Girardi said. "We've had some success doing those types of things late in games. In a seven-game series, we felt that it could come up late in games."
Guzman, 28, appeared in 10 games with the Yankees after being acquired from the Orioles on Aug. 31.
Making his debut as a pinch-runner against the Angels on Sept. 14 and impressing by going quickly from first to third, Guzman batted just .167 (2-for-7) but was successful in four out of five steal attempts.
Hinske, 32, batted .226 (19-for-98) with seven home runs and 14 RBIs in 39 games with the Yankees after being acquired from the Pirates in June. While he has played in the past two World Series with the Red Sox and Rays, Tampa Bay left him off its ALCS roster in 2008 before activating him for the World Series.
Girardi said that there is a possibility that the speedy Brett Gardner could start over center fielder Melky Cabrera in one of the ALCS games, which made carrying Guzman more appealing. Cabrera hit .167 (2-for-12) in the ALDS.
"The games against Minnesota were very close, and sometimes you can use a couple of pinch-runners," Girardi said. "If Gardy gets a start, then you don't have a pinch-runner. It just frees us up to do some more things."
Girardi also confirmed that the Yankees plan to start right-hander A.J. Burnett in Game 2 and left-hander Andy Pettitte in Game 3. There has been no final decision on bringing left-hander CC Sabathia back on what would be three days' rest to pitch Game 4.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.