10/03/05 10:20 PM ET
Notes: Torre sets Yanks' ALDS rotation
Playoff roster to be finalized Tuesday; Wright happy to be home
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
"The first priority is getting [to the playoffs]," Torre said Monday at Angel Stadium. "The second is setting up the pitching."
Here's what Torre and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre settled on: Chien-Ming Wang will work Game 2 on Wednesday, Randy Johnson welcomes the series to the Bronx on Friday, and Shawn Chacon will work Game 4 in New York if it's needed.
Torre said he spent the better part of the afternoon in meetings, at which the rotation, playoff roster and lineup were discussed. Yet when he sat down for his first press conference of the series, at 4 p.m. PT, he wasn't yet prepared to release the roster or the lineup. An hour later, a Yankees spokesman said the roster won't be announced until Tuesday afternoon.
"I haven't even seen the players yet today," Torre said, and his explanation for lining his starters up as he did probably didn't reflect the intensity of the meetings that settled it.
"You have to line 'em up some way," he said.
Torre added that he's leaning toward keeping 11 pitchers.
"That's probably the safest way to go," he offered. "This [Angels] club does a lot of things offensively. ... We want to give ourselves a lot of options."
As for going with Wang, who has never faced the Angels, in Game 2 over Chacon, who threw six shutout innings in his only start against the Halos, Torre suggested that seniority was a factor.
"Wang was a starter [for the Yankees] before Chacon," he said. "We felt that he has pitched well enough, long enough, to deserve a shot."
Johnson, who threw 123 pitches in the Yankees' clincher on Saturday, will be working on five days of rest in Game 3. And he'll be throwing to backup John Flaherty, who has handled most of Johnson's starts.
"When you see something as comfortable as that seems to be," Torre said, "you don't mess with it."
Torre said he hadn't yet heard anything about shortstop Derek Jeter, who was removed from Sunday's game with a bruised right knee, but he sounded less than worried about his captain's health.
"It's probably OK," Torre said. "I'm guessing if it was something real bad, I'd have heard about it."
At about 5:45 p.m. PT, the Yankees spokesman released the starting lineup: Jeter will lead off and will be followed by third baseman Alex Rodriguez, first baseman Jason Giambi, right fielder Gary Sheffield, left fielder Hideki Matsui, second baseman Robinson Cano, catcher Jorge Posada, designated hitter Bernie Williams and center fielder Bubba Crosby.
Happy to be home: Right-hander Jaret Wright, who gave up three runs on three hits and five walks against the Red Sox on Sunday, knows he might not make the playoff roster, but he's not exactly walking around all hangdog.
An Anaheim native whose father, Clyde, is a former big-league pitcher who threw the first no-hitter in Anaheim (now Angel) Stadium in 1970, Wright was an Angels fans growing up and makes his offseason home in nearby Newport Beach.
"It's nice being back here in uniform," said Wright, who remembered cheering for Gary Pettis, Brian Downing, Fred Lynn and Don Baylor back when the team was called the California Angels. "I haven't been here as a player for three or four years because of the timing of injuries and other things, but it's always pretty cool going home."
Wright, one of New York's pricey free-agent pickups last winter, was on the disabled list from April 24-Aug. 16 with shoulder problems. He went 2-0 with a 3.44 ERA in his first three starts off the DL but went 1-2 with a 5.24 ERA in five September starts.
"It's been an up-and-down year for me," he said. "The hardest part was being in Florida [during rehab] and having to watch the team struggle, knowing I was supposed to be a part of us not struggling. But by the time I got back, we were kind of on a roll, and we ended up gutting it out and into the playoffs, so it hasn't been all bad.
"If I make the roster or don't, or I pitch or don't, that doesn't matter right now. Whatever Joe feels is best for the team, that's OK with me."
Old man autumn: First baseman Tino Martinez went to the playoffs with the Yankees every fall from 1996-2001. Being back in the postseason with New York after having spent the past three seasons in St. Louis and Tampa Bay, he said, is special.
"Not just personally, either," said Martinez, 37, who batted .241 with 17 homers and 49 RBIs in the regular season. "More because of what the team went through. The injuries, the adversity ... we went through so much to get here, and to kind of put it all together at the end of the year is pretty satisfying for everyone in this room."
New view: Backup infielder Mark Bellhorn was in Anaheim to open the 2004 playoffs, too ... as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
"It is kind of weird the way it's worked out," said Bellhorn, who was released by Boston in August. "Getting to see the rivalry from both sides is a trip. At both places, you're taught to hate the other side so much."
It'll be even stranger should the Yankees and Red Sox meet in the AL Championship Series.
"First things first, right?" he said. "The Angels can play."
Dribblers ... Torre said bench coach Joe Girardi helped keep him informed on the many and confusing playoff scenarios over the wild final weekend of the regular season. "I call him my [Don] Zimmer with stats," Torre cracked. ... Posada on the Angels' running game, which is one of the best in the league: "Me and John aren't going to do anything different. If we have a chance to throw a guy out, we will." ... Torre said the Yankees will be careful with Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero, but they won't quite give him the Barry Bonds treatment. "I think it's easier to do that against [the Giants], because the falloff [in the lineup] may be more so than when you try to do it against [the Angels]," he said. "If the game is in the balance, you want someone else to beat you, yeah. But to not pitch to [Guerrero], I don't think we're going to do that."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.