“We’ll see if one steps up,” he said. “Somebody would have to show us.” Barring an injury, left-hander Damaso Marte would be the Yankees’ (first) lefty in the bullpen.”
That’s assuming Marte doesn’t implode in the early going. But assuming that, who steps up as the second lefty?
Royce Ring, who pitched in the Cardinals AAA club and earned himself a 3.04 ERA there, could be the guy. His career though is the very definition of erratic. He got shelled in his first season up with the Mets. He pitched well in 2006 and 2007 for the Mets, Padres and Braves, but then got absolutely bombed in 2008, giving up 25 runs in 22.1 innings. Could he be the Man who comes in and gets important crunch time outs against Carlos Pena or Victor Martinez? Do you feel comfortable with that? We’ll see in camp how he fares.
A few interesting prospects could be brought up if they impress. Wilkin De La Rosa is a raw prospect that has pitched well in AA in 2008 and 2009. The book on him is that he throws a hard fastball with late movement, but is still working on his changeup and slider. He has a career K/9 of 10.56, and is improving his BB/9 rate of 3.56. The Yankees thought enough of him to include him on the 40 man roster. Though raw, the ceiling is the limit for De La Rosa.
Another prospect, albeit an older 29-year-old one is Wilkins Arias. The Yankees have invited him to camp as a non-roster invitee. Most likely they have done this because last year in AA ball, Arias held opposing lefties to an impressive .183 BA. Arias is lucky to be a Yankee right now—Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat describes him a “nondescript southpaw”—because the Yankees need lefties right now, even nondescript ones. If he impresses enough, the Yankees might try him out of the pen in Scranton and possibly promote him to the majors if he fares well.
In short the Yankees and Joe Girardi have a lot of wishing and hoping to do, if they want a second lefty in the bullpen. Camp usually provides a few surprises. Let’s hope one of them is a reliable lefty reliever.