Notes: Wright left off ALDS roster
Crosby starts first postseason game; Lawton takes leave
ANAHEIM -- Jaret Wright was the odd man out when Joe Torre turned in his 25-man roster for the American League Division Series, as the Yankees opted to take left-hander Alan Embree as the 11th pitcher against the Angels.
Embree joins Al Leiter as the two southpaws in the bullpen, as Torre liked the idea of being able to match up against lefties Garret Anderson and Darin Erstad, as well as turning around switch-hitter Chone Figgins.
"He's the manager; he makes the decisions," Wright said. "There's one goal, and that's to win. I'll do whatever it takes."
Embree has had good success against Anderson, holding him to just two hits in 13 at-bats, a .154 average.
"Against this club, who they are and what kind of team they have," said Torre, "it dictates that we should have a couple of choices."
Leiter will also be available as a long reliever, with Embree able to fill a specialist role if necessary.
Wright's exclusion from the roster doesn't come as a major surprise, as the right-hander pitched poorly on Sunday against the Red Sox. Wright encountered a run of bad luck in September, getting hit by batted balls twice and a broken bat once, limiting his number of innings.
"It just wasn't comfortable for him," Torre said of Sunday's outing. "When I said that to him, he said it made sense. He was disappointed, but it was probably easier for him than having to go out and pitch when he wasn't sure how consistent he could be."
Torre indicated that he would consider Wright for a spot on the roster should the team advance to the AL Championship Series. During this series, Wright will throw bullpens on the side to keep his arm in shape.
"We felt we wanted to allow him in the first round -- and hopefully there will be more for us -- to throw bullpens," Torre said. "We'll see where he is if we get beyond this."
"The short outings that I've had with getting hit, then seven days and pitching in Boston a couple of innings, I haven't gotten a lot of consistent work in the last couple weeks," Wright said. "Hopefully I can work out some of the tightness and get back to it."
Calling on Crosby: Bubba Crosby got the start in center field for Game 1, the first career postseason start for the 29-year-old.
Crosby appeared in three games last October, pinch-running in two ALDS games against Minnesota and one ALCS game against Boston, where he scored his only run of the playoffs.
Torre decided to go with Crosby in center and Bernie Williams as the designated hitter in order to combat the Angels' team speed, also citing the spacious outfield at Angel Stadium.
"We talked a lot about that," the manager said of his decision. "With this ballclub, we think it makes sense to do that. We'll see how today goes and go from there."
The other option would have been to start Jason Giambi as the DH, starting Williams in center and Tino Martinez at first base.
But Giambi has had much better numbers while playing first base (.319, 24 HRs, 65 RBIs in 238 at-bats) than he has as the DH (.209, 8 HRs, 22 RBIs in 177 at-bats) this season.
Lawton leaves: Matt Lawton, who was beaten out for the final position player spot by Tony Womack, has left the team to return to his home in Gulfport, Miss., where it was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.
"We wanted Womack for his base-stealing stuff," Torre said. "He has a little more versatility."
Lawton, who was acquired by the Yankees in late August, appeared in 20 games with New York, hitting .128 with two homers and four RBIs in 47 at-bats.
Torre was unsure whether Lawton planned to rejoin the team at any time during the postseason.
Small wonder: Aaron Small, who went 10-0 after being called up from Triple-A Columbus after the All-Star break, will work out of the bullpen during the Division Series.
Small will be the Yankees' primary long man out of the bullpen, but the right-hander could be brought in to help bridge the gap from the starting pitcher to the duo of Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera.
"Not to say we wouldn't bring him in if we need to during an inning," Torre said, "but ideally, you'd like him to start an inning so he can use everything and be the pitcher he's been successful being."
Confident Cano: Robinson Cano was in the lineup for the first postseason game of his young career, starting at second base and batting sixth. He delivered a three-run double in the first inning.
It marked just the fourth time all year that Cano hit in the No. 6 spot, as Torre believes the rookie won't be overwhelmed by the atmosphere of the playoffs.
"I'd be surprised if he didn't handle it like everything else," Torre said. "Batting him sixth indicates how we feel about him. He's comfortable with where he is, and the time of year it is."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.