ARLINGTON, Texas -- For most of the season, the Yankees have muddled along with just one lefty in their bullpen. Friday, facing elimination by the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, they will have two.
CC Sabathia, come on down.
The Yankees ace, who pitched six innings and threw 112 pitches just two days ago in the Yankees Game 5 victory, will be available out of the bullpen for Friday night's Game 6, and maybe for as many as two or three innings if starter Phil Hughes runs into early trouble.
On Thursday, Sabathia told ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand that he could throw as many as 45 to 50 pitches in relief.
"I've said all along, this is a big strong man,'' said manager Joe Girardi. "I'll use him as I need him. It could be to one batter, it could be to bridge a gap, it could be a lot of different things. Anything.''
Girardi said that included coming into the middle of an inning if necessary to put out a fire.
"I think you try to give him enough time to warm up and we would prefer to bring him in to start an inning, but we don't have to,'' Girardi said. "But if we don't have that option, we'll do whatever it takes.''
It could also be that Sabathia will be Girardi's first option to pitch to Josh Hamilton in a crucial situation. Boone Logan, the Yankees usual situational lefty, has already failed in two of them, allowing a leadoff double to Hamilton in the ninth inning of Game 3 and a home run in the seventh inning of Game 4.
"The thing is, Hamilton has hit well off all our lefties,'' Girardi said.
Hamilton also had a three-run home run off Sabathia in the first inning of Game 1 and a two-run homer off Andy Pettitte in the first inning of Game 3. He is hitting .316 with 4 homers and 7 RBI in the ALCS.
Girardi said Sabathia came to him and announced his availability for relief work right after Game 5. And Girardi did not rule out the possibility of using Sabathia both Friday and again Saturday if the Yankees win and force Game 7.
"It would be pretty dangerous,'' Girardi said. "But it's obviously something we would sit down and discuss.''