Hiroki Kuroda to start Game 2 of ALCS against Tigers

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When the Yankees announced earlier today that they added Cody Eppley to their bullpen for the ALCS, the speculation was that David Phelps would start Game 2 tomorrow. That’s not the case.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Hiroki Kuroda will make the start in Game 2 on three days’ rest. Kuroda, who has never started a game on short rest in the majors, allowed two runs over 8 1/3 innings while throwing 105 pitches in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles on Wednesday.

There’s some concern that Kuroda was tiring down the stretch, as he threw a career-high 219 2/3 innings during the regular season and stopped throwing bullpen sessions between starts, but this is a gamble the Yankees had to take. If the Yankees go up 2-0 in the series, they could possibly push CC Sabathia back to Game 4 rather than have him go on three days’ rest in Game 3 on Tuesday. Kuroda is also lined up to start Game 6 or 7 on regular rest.

Phelps and Derek Lowe are both available as piggyback options if Kuroda struggles or runs out of steam early tomorrow.

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.”