After filing my pieces for tomorrow's paper, I went to the major league game at Legend's Field. I got to say hello to a few Thunder alums that I covered who have since made their way to the show. Jeff Karstens said his elbow is doing better. He'll play catch tomorrow, and Joe Torre said that he could still go north with the team, instead of starting on the disabled list.
Karstens' replacement, Darrell Rasner, got shelled by the Astros - nine hits and seven earned runs in only 4 2/3 innings. Ron Villone, whom Torre ran into the ground last year (the same way he did Tanyon Sturtze and Steve Karsay in the past), fared no better, retiring none of the three batters he faced before being lifted for Sean Henn, who gave up another hit before mercifully ending the inning.
Torre said he would be open to only taking one lefty reliever (Mike Myers), though it seems hard to believe he would actually do that, since they have to face David Ortiz 19 times a year. Henn has performed better than Villone overall, but Henn has the option, and Torre tends to favor experience. If he does take Henn, Charlie Manning is pretty much assured of getting a spot in the Triple-A bullpen.
The other two major positions for the Yankees to resolve are backup catcher and the righty in the first base platoon (Josh Phelps or Andy Phillips). I expect Torre to go for experience again, meaning he'll take Todd Pratt, which means Will Nieves goes to Triple-A. That could mean the end of Omir Santos's run in the organization, as P.J. Pillitiere is ticketed to be the starting catcher for the Thunder and it's hard to see Santos being a backup here or a third-stringer in Triple-A.