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Short bullpen puts pitching pressure on Yanks

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NEW YORK -- It's a rare occasion when the media can stump Joe Girardi.

The Yankees manager held court Saturday morning after a 14-inning game Friday night that tested his bullpen and his ingenuity. The Yankees used seven relievers before taking a 10-5 loss, and the question raised was who would have been Girardi's next pitcher.

Chris Leroux took the loss in Friday night's game, and Girardi noted Saturday that he could've thrown as many as 90 pitches. And if that wasn't enough, the Yankees didn't have an answer.

"I don't know what I would've done," said Girardi. "I would've had to figure it out."

The Yankees optioned Leroux to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Saturday and recalled Alfredo Aceves, but Girardi still had to figure out what to do with the rest of his team. Girardi opted against starting Derek Jeter on Saturday morning, and he listened to his gut for the rest of his lineup card.

"I made the lineup before most of the guys got here," Girardi said. "I had in my mind what I was going to do after the game last night. You look at how guys are doing and you try to decide if you feel they need a day off. You look at what the matchup might be in your mind, and that's how you decide"

Girardi said that Jeter likely would've played on Saturday if Friday night's game hadn't gone 14 innings. Yangervis Solarte got the call at shortstop instead. The Yankees will likely have to stay away from relievers Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley for Saturday's game, giving the team a short bullpen.

The Yankees will be leaning even heavier than usual on starter Masahiro Tanaka on Saturday, but Girardi didn't want to raise the expectations any higher than necessary. Yes, the Yankees need Tanaka to pitch deep in the game, said Girardi, but that's what he's been doing anyway.

"It's important, because we'll be without some guys today," Girardi said. "We just need him to go out and do it, but the one thing I don't want him to think is that he has to go out there and pitch nine innings and go away from what he does. He just needs to get people out and we'll take care of the rest."

Spencer Fordin 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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