The spot in the bullpen opened up when Pedro Feliciano was forced to start the season on the disabled list. Garrison was considered an early favorite to break camp with the team, as the Yankees were hoping to take a second lefty, but he didn’t impress in his final two outings, hurting his chances.
Ayala, who came to camp as a non-roster invite, did not fly to New York with the team on Tuesday, but was headed north on a flight Wednesday morning.
Ayala posted a 1.08 ERA in eight appearances this spring, allowing seven hits in 8 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter.
I don’t want to make too much of a very small move, but why even bother looking at Luis Ayala here? The Yankees have plenty of right-handed pitchers in the bullpen, both for long and short relief, and other right-handed options available to them on the 40-man roster. Namely, they could call up Ryan Pope, a promising 25 year-old relief pitcher who will probably be called up at some point in 2011 to pitch real innings in New York. Neither Pope nor Ayala would likely pitch all that much in the week or so until Feliciano returns, but why not get Pope’s feet a little wet?
Or hell, why not call up Greg Golson just to have a pinch runner sitting around? I ask not because its all that big of a deal, but because I the Ayala thing is a real headscratcher. The man had a good spring, but had an ERA well over 6.00 in Triple-A last season. Anyone else have a rationale for Ayala that they can think of?
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