By Ken Davidoff TORONTO, Newsday
The Yankees’ top four starting pitchers all worked Saturday and Sunday, thanks to the consecutive day-night doubleheaders. That odd occurrence, combined with Thursday’s day off, gave Joe Torre and his pitching coach Ron Guidry the freedom to rearrange their rotation however they wanted. The new order looks very much like a potential postseason rotation: Wang Chien-Ming will start Friday night against the Devil Rays at Tropicana Field, followed by Randy Johnson on Saturday, Mike Mussina on Sunday and Jaret Wright on Monday. “You can read anything you want, but we’re not sure what we’re doing yet,” Torre said Tuesday before the Yankees played the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. “Because we have wiggle room, we can do anything we want, once we clinch.” That is true, but the sequence makes plenty of sense. Wang, a second-year major-leaguer, has been the Yankees’ most consistent and effective starter. Saving Mussina for Game 3 reflects Torre’s history of assigning a trusted veteran to that game, important in the series’ momentum no matter what occurred in the first two games. Starting Johnson in Game 2 would give him three days’ rest to help from the bullpen in a Game 5, and Wright clearly has defeated Cory Lidle in the battle for the fourth starter’s role. Rookie Sean Henn will start Wednesday night’s series finale against the Blue Jays. Henn has been a reliever most of the season, and Torre said he doesn’t expect more than three or four innings from the left-hander. Torre said that the Yankees “would try to back off” Brian Bruney, who has quickly become an important reliever, for the short term. Bruney is coming off a significant right elbow injury, and his velocity has dropped lately, Torre said. For the duration of the regular season, Torre said, Bruney would not pitch into a second inning. Torre added that the Yankees would continue to take it easy on reliever Kyle Farns’worth and probably not pitch him on back-to-back days before the playoffs.