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Yanks stock up on arms in 11th hour

Yanks stock up on arms in 11th hour

NEW YORK -- The Yankees finalized their 25-man roster for the American League Division Series on Wednesday morning, reversing course and opting to take an 11-man pitching staff to face the Minnesota Twins.

New York had been expected to bring 15 position players to the first round, but decided instead to bring right-hander Chad Gaudin as an extra arm capable of serving as a long man.

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Left-hander Damaso Marte is aboard as a second left-handed reliever, and the Yankees will carry three catchers for the first round, bringing catcher Francisco Cervelli along to help.

"We went round and round about the guys that we were going to carry, and we felt that this was the best way to do our roster," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Girardi has announced that he plans to use backup Jose Molina and not regular catcher Jorge Posada to work with Game 2 starter A.J. Burnett. The addition of Cervelli, a 23-year-old rookie, gives the Yankees flexibility.

"With a third catcher, it's a situation if we decide Molina starts a game and then we pinch-hit for him late," Girardi said. "[If] the run is important and we want to pinch-hit or pinch-run for Posada, this gives us that option to do that."

With CC Sabathia, Burnett and Andy Pettitte set for starts in the ALDS, the Yankees' bullpen will fill in behind closer Mariano Rivera and setup man Phil Hughes.

Minnesota's lefty-laden lineup created a necessity to carry two left-handed relievers, with both Phil Coke and Marte available for attempts to tackle tough hitters like Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel.

Girardi explained the rationale for having two lefty arms, saying, "The Twins have more left-handers. A second left-hander would possibly get more work against them. The one thing we talk about is we want to make sure that when we use our bullpen, we're covered if the game goes extra innings."

Also assisting in relief are Alfredo Aceves, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson. Girardi said that the Yankees could use Rivera for more than four outs, send Hughes in for four to five outs, and even unleash the heavily guarded Chamberlain from his shackles as they see fit.

"Once we get to the playoffs, the rules are off," Girardi said. "Every day is a very meaningful day. Sometimes you can't prepare for tomorrow, so you have to worry about today."

Girardi said that the Yankees hammered out their decisions after watching Tuesday's Twins-Tigers game on television in a conference room adjacent to general manager Brian Cashman's office at Yankee Stadium.

After Alexi Casilla's game-winning hit, the Yankees' coaches and advance scouts broke down the Twins' roster and made the final choices. Girardi said that he got home at approximately 11:45 p.m. ET after a long day at the Stadium scouting Minnesota, against which New York was 7-0 in 2009.

"To me, it's a lot of the same team," Girardi said. "They were gritty then and they're gritty now. They're going to do little things, they're going to play aggressive at times and they're going to fight you tooth and nail. To me, the club really hasn't changed."

There were few surprises with New York's position players. The infield will be comprised of Mark Teixeira at first base, Robinson Cano at second base, Derek Jeter at shortstop and Alex Rodriguez at third base. Veterans Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Eric Hinske will serve as reserves.

Outfielders on the roster include left fielder Johnny Damon, center fielder Melky Cabrera and right fielder Nick Swisher, plus reserve Brett Gardner and designated hitter Hideki Matsui.

The Yankees had considered bringing speedy outfielder Freddy Guzman aboard as a second pinch-running option, but he will instead stand by as a possible weapon should the Yankees advance.

New York sent right-handers Brian Bruney and Sergio Mitre to Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, along with infielder Ramiro Pena, in an effort to keep those players' skills sharp in the event they are added to the roster for a potential American League Championship Series against either the Angels or Red Sox.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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