Saturday, March 31, 2007

Taking it to the limit

No, this post isn't an ode to The Eagles. And I hardly feel like singing.

Right now, I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Clearwater. In less than three hours, I will board a flight home to New Jersey still without knowing the entire Thunder roster. The Yankees are apparently waiting until at least tomorrow, the end of spring training, to finish their minor league rosters.

Manager Tony Franklin gave me lists of players who potentially fill the remaining holes on the roster. But I get the feeling that there could be more shifting around tomorrow before camp breaks, and even a move or two on Monday or Tuesday. If only the Yankees decision makers would show some consideration towards us scribes who have preview stories to write. Grrrrr.

Here are the players I know are on the team, as of today:

Outfielders (4): Brett Gardner, Justin Christian, Matt Carson, Shawn Garrett. The first three all played in Trenton last year. Garrett is a veteran who has spent the last two seasons in Triple-A with the A's, Cardinals, and Phillies.

Infielders (3): Cody Ehlers, Gabe Lopez, Ramiro Pena. Kevin Howard could also come back to be the starting third baseman, but he still hadn't been moved to Double-A as of today; the other candidate is Aaron Baldiris. I've also been told that Carlos Mendoza and recent acquisition Juan Francia are also candidates.

Catcher (1): P.J. Pilittere. He'll be the starter. My guess is Jason Brown returns once again as the backup.

Starting Pitchers (5): Chase Wright, Jeff Marquez, Alan Horne, Brett Smith, and Jason Jones. Expect Wright to get the ball for Thursday's opener.

Bullpen (2): Kevin Whelan, Gerardo Casadiego. From what I've been told, as many as seven guys are candidates for the other five spots. My guess is Scott Patterson (who was called up for the major league game today), Jeff Kennard, Paul Thorp, Edwar Ramirez, and Michael Gardner. But this could change entirely due to the wild card here - Ron Villone. He has reportedly received a minor league offer to pitch for Triple-A Scranton after losing out on a major league spot to Sean Henn. If Villone accepts, I'm afraid Charlie Manning will get squeezed out of Triple-A once again.

So that's 15 out of 24 players. This really sucks when you're trying to write preview stories.

Oh well. Talk to you again tomorrow, after I get home, start my laundry, and hopefully find out more.

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