Sabathia available for relief in Game 6

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If New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes needs any help getting through Game 6 against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, CC Sabathia will be there to back him up.

Sabathia, who threw 112 pitches in six innings to help the Yankees to a 7-2 victory on Wednesday in Game 5, says he will be available to pitch in relief on Friday.

Sabathia would normally have thrown a between-starts bullpen session on Friday, but he will rest up instead to be ready for bullpen duty, according to Ed Price of Fanhouse.

“I can probably throw 45 pitches (or) 50 tomorrow,” Sabathia said.

Other than two All-Star Games, Sabathia has never pitched in relief as a professional: minors, majors or postseason.

“Let’s see how he feels tomorrow,” manager Joe Girardi said, “but our plan is that he will be available for us.”

Sabathia has made two starts in the series, allowing five runs in only four innings in Game 1, which the Yankees nonetheless won. The last pitcher to make two starts and a relief appearance in a best-of-seven series, according to Price, was Pedro Martinez for the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.

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Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”