TORONTO -- Given the versatility of the newly acquired Jerry Hairston Jr., it seemed unlikely that the Yankees would have room for backup infielder Cody Ransom much longer. And so the team did the inevitable on Wednesday, designating Ransom for assignment and replacing him with a fresh arm for the bullpen, right-hander Anthony Claggett.
"We just wanted to make sure that we were protected pitching-wise," manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi's concern stemmed from the fact that after Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays, the Yankees are set to fly home for the first of four games against the Red Sox -- a team notorious for working counts and forcing opponents to turn to their bullpens earlier than desired.
If the Yankees fall victim to Boston's patience this weekend, Girardi wants to make sure that he has the necessary reinforcements so that he won't have to turn to the same relievers over and over again.
"We wanted to make sure that we had depth in our bullpen," Girardi said. We know that this could be a tough series with teams that really like to work pitchers. We wanted to make sure that we don't wear anyone out."
Claggett earned the promotion for a rather straightforward reason -- he was thriving. Spot starting but pitching mainly out of relief for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the 25-year-old Claggett has posted a 3.12 ERA over his most recent three outings, striking out five and walking three. He struggled mightily in his Major League debut in April, however, coming on in relief of Chien-Ming Wang and allowing eight earned runs in a 22-4 loss to the Indians on April 18.
Claggett might not last much longer than this weekend, as Girardi plans on going back to 12 pitchers at some point in the near future. But for now, he is here, and Ransom's tenure with the organization may be complete.
Designating Ransom may have been an obvious decision, but it was not an easy one for the Yankees. Though he struggled at times, Ransom nonetheless bailed the Yankees out of a tough spot when starting third baseman Alex Rodriguez had surgery on his right hip this spring, allowing Ransom to take over the starting job and hold it as best he could.
Recently, Ransom's playing time has been limited to days in which Rodriguez is the designated hitter -- a role that Hairston can fill just as capably.
Ransom, in 31 games this season, hit just .190, making four errors at third base.
"It's always tough when you have to do something like that," Girardi said of Ransom's demotion. "It's something you never want to do. Cody still has baseball left in him. It's hard for any player."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.