Notes: Mo, Flash armed and ready

Notes: Mo, Flash armed and ready

BOSTON -- With their playoff lives resting squarely on the final three days of the regular season, Joe Torre and the Yankees are ready to do anything necessary to secure a postseason berth.

That means an "anything goes" attitude in the bullpen, especially when it comes to using Mariano Rivera and Tom Gordon.

Rivera was able to take the night off on Thursday, as the Yankees defeated the Orioles, 8-4, in Baltimore. Gordon, however, pitched in the game, making his second straight appearance.

"Everybody will be available," Torre said. "I think the game will dictate, more than anything else, where we go next. We'll just have to wait and see."

Torre didn't shoot down the idea of using Rivera for more than one inning, though he would probably prefer to limit his closer to one-inning appearances if there is a chance that he could pitch in all three games against the Red Sox.

"The game will tell us what to do," Torre said. "The tone of the game, what's been going on in the game, who he's replacing; it will all enter into the decision we make."

Rivera, who ranks third in the American League with 43 saves, won't necessarily be limited to save situations, either.

"We don't worry about save situations," Torre said. "There are a number of times we've brought Mo in with a four-run lead if we felt the game dictated that and you wanted to stop the momentum."

Despite a pair of recent rough outings in Baltimore, Torre still has faith in Tanyon Sturtze's ability to get the job done in tight situations.

Sturtze retired Chris Gomez with the bases loaded on Thursday, but went on to give up a two-run homer an inning later with a six-run lead. Prior to the Orioles series, Sturtze had allowed just one run over his last seven appearances.

"I was happy to get Gomez out," Sturtze said. "I was upset about the two-run homer, but I was just trying to get ahead in the count. I left it up a little too high and he drove it. The first pitch of the at-bat, you hope they're not going to take you deep, but it happens.

"I feel good right now; my confidence is fine," he added. "I pitched good in New York, and every time I've come into a tough situation, I've gotten out of it. I concentrate on that."

All hands on deck: Shawn Chacon, who made his final start of the regular season on Wednesday, will throw a bullpen session on Saturday.

When he will take the ball again remains unclear.

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Chacon could work out of the bullpen this weekend if he is needed, or he could be held out in case New York is forced to play a one-game playoff on Monday.

"If they need me to pitch," Chacon said, "I'll be ready."

Change of pace: The Yankees will bring in a special pitcher for batting practice before Saturday's game, as the hitters try to prepare for Tim Wakefield, Boston's veteran knuckleballer.

Joe Ausanio, who pitched for the Yankees in 1994-95, will join the team at Fenway Park on Saturday to throw BP.

Ausanio went 4-1 with a 5.57 ERA in 41 relief appearances for New York, and now works as the Director of Food Services for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the Class A New York-Penn League.

"We haven't had very much success. I'm open to anything," Torre said. "I'm not sure that's the answer, because they're all not the same."

Moose call: Mike Mussina came through his bullpen session on Friday without a hitch, setting him up to start Sunday's regular-season finale against Curt Schilling and the Red Sox.

Mussina, who has made two starts after missing more than three weeks with inflammation in his elbow, was roughed up for five runs in 1 2/3 innings on Tuesday. Despite the subpar outing, Mussina is confident that it had nothing to do with his elbow, and he's ready to get back out to the mound on Sunday.

Mussina, who was on an pitch count of 80 in his first start back and about 100 in his second start, knows that there will be no such thing as a pitch count if the division crown is on the line.

"This is a playoff game," Mussina said. "There are no limits."

On deck: The Yankees and Red Sox meet in the second game of their weekend series, as Randy Johnson tries to improve on his 4-0 record against Boston. Wakefield, pitching on three days' rest, takes the ball for the Red Sox.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.