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Positional Battle: Yankees Bench

By Mike Silva ~ February 17th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

The most competitive positional battle this spring may be the spots for the Yankees bench. Last year Joe Girardi only took four reserves north from Tampa. How will things play out this year?

Locks: Francisco Cervelli

Candidates: Marcus Thames, Randy Winn, Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena, Jamie Hoffmann

Long shots: Greg Golson, Jon Weber, Mike Rivera

Call Up Possibilities: Eduardo Nunez, Reegie Corona, Jorge Vazquez, Jesus Montero, P.J. Pilittere

Interesting how there is only one lock. I can’t see any scenario where Cervelli doesn’t make the squad, especially after he received raves from the pitching staff when subbing for Posada last year. What a 180 for Cervelli who started last year in AA Trenton and was hitting below the Mendoza line.

If not for the presence of Thames and Winn I would give Hoffmann a real shot at making the ballclub. I believe the Yankees are going to wind up carrying both since Thames can’t be counted out to play the outfield defensively every day. They would use Winn’s corner defense and Thames power off the bench, especially against lefties. One thing going in Hoffmann’s favor is the Rule V selection, the Yankees would have to offer him back to Los Angeles, but a deal could be worked out where they send him to Scranton and provide the Dodgers with compensation.

The real battle may come down to Long Island’s Kevin Russo and Ramiro Pena for the final roster spot. Pena did a great job last year. We all know he can pick it, but his bat, although pretty decent in 2009, remains a question mark. In comparison Russo has hit at every level of the minor leagues. Will Girardi go for defense or offense with that final spot? I think Russo might have to hit a ton to beat out Pena’s glove. Reegie Corona is a sleeper, if you remember he almost made the Mariners as a Rule V pick last year.

Jesus Montero is the one big call up that everyone will be watching. If he hits as expected at AAA could he find himself in the big leagues by the end of the season? I find it unlikely, especially after how the Yankees handled former prospect Austin Jackson the last few years, but in an emergency it’s a possibility.

Prediction: Cervelli, Thames, Winn, and Pena make the club and the Yankees will go with the extra pitcher instead of another bat.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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2 Responses to Positional Battle: Yankees Bench

  1. Yankz1

    Jorge Vazquez has a better shot than you are giving him. He can mash. Thames and Winn will be up. Yanks keep either Russo or Pena, they are the same player. Hoffman, Weber, and Golson are outfield so they are out. Vazquez can come off the bench and play the corners in the infield. Plus he has more power than any of the others. the final four are Thames, Winn, Russo, and Vazquez!
    Watch out NY, here comes El Chato!!!

  2. nyyankeefanforever

    I agree with you on Cervelli, Mike. Who else will catch AJ…lol! No matter what the lineup, bench or rotation look like, you gotta admit life is definitely looking good in Yankee Universe! And I hear down the road in Fort Myers today, Dice-K woke up with a sore back (again) and Suks fans believe losing 150-plus runs from the batting order can be redeemed with better defense…lol!

    For even more Yankee fun, check out the satirical music comedy vid “Joe’s Job – The Ballad of Terry Francona” at


    It’s a must-see for Yankee and Red Suks fans alike! Go Yankees! 28 in 2010!!!

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