10/08/12 2:15 AM ET
Yanks pass first postseason test without Mo
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Rivera had been present for all of the club's playoff appearances from 1995 -- when he was in then-manager Buck Showalter's stable of relievers for an American League Division Series loss to the Mariners -- through 2011, before being marked absent from the Yankees' 7-2 win over the Orioles in Monday's Game 1 of the ALDS.
"I don't say it's weird, because it's been such a long time since he was injured," said Yankees reliever David Robertson, who recorded the final out on Monday. "I don't want to say we forgot him, either, but you're not seeing him every day, so it's not fresh on your mind like it used to be. If we go and finish off the [World] Series, it's going to be strange not seeing No. 42 finish off the game."
Rivera's Major League-record 42 postseason saves should be evidence enough of his impact, but consider this fact: Thanks to the club's long title drought of the 1980s and early '90s, this is the first Yankees postseason appearance since 1981 -- when Goose Gossage paced the club with 20 saves -- that Rivera hasn't been on the roster.
"It's going to be hard for anyone ever to match Mo's numbers over a long period of time, with all the postseasons that he's had, with all the saves that he's had," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But it doesn't mean that someone can't match it for a season."
And thus, though Rivera's absence may be noticed throughout the playoffs, the Yankees have confidence that Rafael Soriano will be able to fill the all-time saves leader's shoes this month, coming off a regular season in which he converted 42 of 46 save opportunities.
Soriano wasn't needed behind CC Sabathia's 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball on Monday, but he almost certainly will be as the series progresses. Soriano has received advice from Rivera all year long, but his postseason experience is limited to just 7 2/3 innings with the Rays and Yankees in 2010 and '11.
"Same thing -- we feel like the game is over when he comes in," Robertson said. "It's the same thing as Mo. You're not going to win them all -- occasionally one is going to slip through your fingers -- but for the most part, you get the lead to the late innings, let's finish it and go for it."
Rivera did not accompany the Yankees to Baltimore. Girardi said that the Yankees expect Rivera to be in attendance for the club's postseason games at Yankee Stadium, beginning with Wednesday's Game 3 of the ALDS.
Nix added, Nova subtracted on ALDS roster
BALTIMORE -- The Yankees finalized their roster for the American League Division Series against the Orioles on Sunday morning, naming utility man Jayson Nix, infielder Eduardo Nunez and right-hander Derek Lowe among their choices.
Among those who were told they would not be carried for the first round were right-handers Ivan Nova and Cody Eppley, as well as outfielder Andruw Jones.
"It came down to probably one pitcher and one position player, what you want to do," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Eppley's been here all year for us and done a good job for us. That was a tough decision and Andruw Jones was a tough one, because we know the impact he can put on a baseball. We decided to go with Nunie and Derek Lowe in those situations."
New York is carrying 11 pitchers for the ALDS. Girardi announced a rotation for the series against the Orioles that will feature CC Sabathia in Game 1, followed by Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes in Games 2 through 4, respectively.
New York's bullpen will fill in behind closer Rafael Soriano and setup man David Robertson with a group that includes right-handers Joba Chamberlain, Lowe and David Phelps, plus left-handers Boone Logan and Clay Rapada.
Lowe, 38, earned a spot after posting a 3.04 ERA in 17 relief appearances for New York, spanning 23 2/3 innings. He was 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Indians before being released in August.
Girardi's decision to take Lowe as an extra right-handed reliever bumped the 26-year-old Eppley, who had a 3.33 ERA in 59 appearances spanning 46 innings this year, as well as Nova. But Girardi likes Lowe's ability to induce ground balls, as well as his playoff experience.
"He's been there in tough situations," Girardi said.
A 16-game winner last season, Nova had his final start of the season skipped last week against the Red Sox in favor of Phelps, completing a year in which Nova was 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA in 28 starts. Girardi said that Nova was bypassed from a bullpen role because he does not have much experience in relief.
"It's not something that he's done much of, coming out of the bullpen," Girardi said. "We'll keep him throwing and we'll keep Freddy [Garcia] throwing. Those two guys were with us the whole year and those are the guys that it's always really tough [for]. We'll keep them throwing just in case we need them."
Russell Martin and backup Chris Stewart are on the roster as a catching tandem, and the Yankees project a starting infield of Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Eric Chavez will serve as a backup at the corner-infield spots, and Nix -- who hasn't played since Sept. 27 due to a strained left hip flexor -- can back up at three infield positions as well as play left field.
"Everything I've done so far, I've had zero setbacks or zero feelings from it," Nix said on Saturday. "It feels great. It feels normal."
While they have concerns about his defense, the Yankees will carry Nunez as a potential power bat against left-handed pitching. That fills a role occupied during the regular season by Jones, who finished the year with a weak second half and batted .197 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs in 94 games overall.
For their starting outfield, the Yankees figure to have Ichiro Suzuki in left field, Curtis Granderson in center and Nick Swisher in right.
Raul Ibanez is on the roster as a corner outfielder and designated hitter option, and the Yankees are also carrying Brett Gardner, who appeared in seven games late in the season after undergoing elbow surgery and can be used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.
"I don't know if I'll start him," Girardi said. "The one thing is, he hasn't had a ton of at-bats."
A-Rod proud of protégé Machado
BALTIMORE -- Alex Rodriguez never considered that his offseason workout partner might stand in the way of his pursuit of a World Series ring, but that's exactly what the Orioles' Manny Machado will try to do in the American League Division Series.
Rodriguez and Machado have worked out together during past winters on the University of Miami campus, with the 20-year-old Machado having grown up idolizing Rodriguez and later tapping the three-time AL Most Valuable Player Award winner for advice on playing third base in the big leagues.
"He's just a great kid," Rodriguez said. "He's got a great approach and he's got a very, very bright future and a great attitude. What he's been able to do at 20 years old just makes me very proud of him."
Machado, who wears uniform No. 13 like Rodriguez, batted .262 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 51 games for Baltimore this season. Like Rodriguez, he was once a shortstop who moved to third base, and he has said that he modeled his game after A-Rod's for years.
"It's funny," Rodriguez said. "I came up idolizing Cal Ripken. Now he's over there in the same position Cal was at, so there's some irony there. And he's a great kid; he's a Miami kid. I wish him the best -- just not too much this series."
Swisher won't look back at playoff track record
BALTIMORE -- Nick Swisher has heard enough about his playoff struggles in a Yankees uniform. The switch-hitter is motivated to end all that talk and finish his year with a monster postseason.
Swisher entered Sunday's American League Division Series Game 1 against the Orioles having batted just .160 (16-for-100) with four homers and five RBIs in 28 postseason games with the Yankees dating back to 2009, including four hits in 19 at-bats against the Tigers in last year's ALDS.
"I think we've really been in a playoff-type atmosphere the last month," Swisher said, "and I really feel like I've done well. I'm done stressing about this, man. This could be my last hurrah here, man, so I'm just going to keep going out there and doing everything I have to do."
Swisher, 31, batted .272 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs in 148 games during the regular season. He is eligible for free agency for the first time after the playoffs, and it is uncertain that the Yankees would offer a multiyear contract to keep the popular outfielder in pinstripes.
New York's front office has talked about wanting to reduce its payroll below $189 million for the 2014 season, while also speaking about plans to offer contract extensions to second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Curtis Granderson.
"We'll see. At the end of the season, we'll figure it out," Swisher said. "I've talked about that. It's not like no one knows about it. It could be [the end], man, so let's make the most of it."