After a week's wait, it appears Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez will make his postseason debut in the American League Championship Series. Yankees Manager Joe Torre said he won't name his starter for Game 4 until the series heads to Boston, but Saturday's start seems likely to go to Hernandez, who has not pitched since Oct. 1 because of a tired right shoulder.
"Everything seems to be fine," Torre said. "I'm sure he'll be playing catch in the next day or so."
Hernandez, who was 8-2 with a 3.30 ERA and was the Yankees' most consistent starter in the second half of the season, threw a bullpen session on Monday and felt fine. Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said he was encouraged.
"He had some arm strength and life in his arm and a better look on his face," Stottlemyre said. "A week ago I wasn't very optimistic."
The Yankees hoped Hernandez could pitch in the Division Series against the Minnesota Twins, but the Cuban didn't feel physically ready to pitch.
Hernandez missed the 2003 season after shoulder surgery and was signed by the Yankees to a minor league deal in the offseason.
Mendoza on Roster
The Red Sox decided to put right-hander Ramiro Mendoza, a former Yankee, on the playoff roster in place of third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Mendoza was 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA in 27 appearances for the Red Sox, but was not on the Division Series roster for Boston's three-game sweep of the Anaheim Angels.
"We determined that we wanted an extra pitcher, so Youkilis was the one we needed to take off," Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. "It wasn't that big of a deal. It was tough to take Mendoza off the first set of playoffs, but we felt like we needed the extra infielder."
Pedro Martinez, the scheduled starter for Boston on Wednesday, declined to participate in the pregame session with reporters on Tuesday. Since the session isn't mandatory, Martinez will not be fined.
Randolph to Interview
The Yankees gave new Mets general manager Omar Minaya permission to interview Willie Randolph for their manager's job.
Randolph, the Yankees' bench coach, said Tuesday that he had not yet spoken with Minaya about setting up the interview.
"They've had some tough times," said Randolph, who played second base for the Yankees from 1976-88 and finished his career with the Mets in 1992.
After the 2000 season, he interviewed with the Cincinnati Reds before they hired Bob Boone. At the time, Randolph and Ron Oester were said to have balked at small contract offers. On Tuesday, Randolph said he was never offered the job.
"That's the way they made it out to be," he said.
The former Yankees co-captain grew up in Brooklyn and has been a coach for the team for 11 years, taking over the bench role this year from Don Zimmer after 10 seasons as third base coach.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.