Logan, Ring doing their best to impress

Logan, Ring doing their best to impress

TAMPA, Fla. -- The competition between Boone Logan and Royce Ring to serve as the Yankees' second bullpen left-hander might not be the most glamorous fight in camp this spring, and it might not be an official battle at all.

The Yankees have not decided whether they need another southpaw to complement Damaso Marte, believing that they also have righties who can get tough lefties out. But for Logan and Ring, that pending decision means the difference between the big leagues and seeing another Opening Day at Triple-A.

"It gives a manager a lot of flexibility, but we're going to take the 12 best arms," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We're not going to be set that you have to take five righties and two lefties. If we carry another lefty, we carry another lefty. If we don't, we're going to have 12 good arms."

There is a gap to fill on the roster, thanks to the trade in December that imported Curtis Granderson from the Tigers at the cost of lefty reliever Phil Coke, among others. Marte was almost nonexistent until the postseason last year, and the subtraction of Coke makes both hopefuls believe there is a chance to go north.

The 25-year-old Logan was acquired from the Braves in the December swap that also netted starter Javier Vazquez. The 29-year-old Ring is trying to make the club as a non-roster invitee. Both have pitched well thus far in their limited appearances.

"I look at it like they traded for Javy, but also for me, too," Logan said. "If they want two lefties in the 'pen, I'm ready to go for that."

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"They called me for a reason," Ring said. "They obviously think that I can do something to help their team out, somehow or some way, so I thought, 'Let's give it a try.' The Yankees were one of my better offers, and I think the opportunity is there."

Ring is a laid-back California type, while Logan prefers Texas camouflage and boots. Logan has allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings of spring work over four appearances, walking one and striking out three, while Ring has allowed one hit and no runs in 3 1/3 innings of work over three appearances, walking none and striking out three.

Logan might be considered a slight favorite because he is already on New York's 40-man roster. He was 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Braves last year, also making 29 appearances at Triple-A Gwinnett. He wasn't surprised when he heard a trade was in the works.

"I was kind of wanting to get out of the Braves organization," Logan said. "I didn't feel like there was any room for me there. I did love the Braves organization and all the people there, and I wasn't ready to leave. But then again, when I heard I got traded to the Yankees, it's kind of easy to let it go."

Originally a product of the White Sox system, Logan was packaged with Vazquez to Atlanta in December 2008 with high hopes, but things just didn't click.

"It was tough, because it was my job to lose in the spring and I lost it," Logan said. "I had a sore arm, but did what I needed to do and got turned around down at Triple-A, got called up, and Bobby Cox already had his lefty in [Eric] O'Flaherty. He was doing great, and he earned the job up there for them.

"I knew I wasn't going to come up and take his spot, but I did expect to pitch more than I did. There were two weeks where I didn't even warm up. That's the best I've ever felt, but I'm feeling the same way now, and that's why I'm excited about it."

While Logan is looking for a clean slate, Ring is just hoping for a chance. Once a touted prospect who was a key chip in a Mets trade of Roberto Alomar, Ring is trying his luck with a fifth organization. He hopes his side-slinging delivery offers enough funk to convince the Yankees that he can get big league outs regularly.

"It's just having the ability to come in, throw strikes and get outs as quickly as possible," Ring said. "I think if I pound the zone, I should be able to show them that I'm not afraid to throw and that I want the job."

Ring was in camp last spring with the Cardinals on a big league deal but became an afterthought when the Redbirds signed Dennys Reyes, a transaction that Ring called "bone-crushing." Shipped to Triple-A Memphis, Ring said he was told he wouldn't be the first pitcher called up no matter what he did, which he said was frustrating.

"It's not the first time that I've been pushed to the side," Ring said. "It's just how this game works. I know I'm not a guy that throws 98 miles an hour or has this huge status. I've had to work my way up and earn my spots."

At this stage in his career, and facing the competition of the younger Logan, Ring is searching for a little something extra to give him a boost.

"I'm actually working on a knuckleball," Ring said. "I haven't thrown it in a game yet, but I've been throwing it in the bullpens a lot.

"I'm going to test the waters with it, but it's got to be a situation that warrants it -- nobody on, I'm going to break it out on a hitter, he'll say, 'What the heck was that?' and then he probably won't see another one."

Smoke and mirrors might help, but what the Yankees will be watching the rest of the spring will be results, especially against left-handed hitters. Although he was speaking about himself, perhaps Logan summed up the arguments for both hopefuls best.

"Get lefties out -- that's the same old story," Logan said. "I'll just go about my business, stay quiet and do what I need to do. We'll see where it ends up at the end of spring. I'm ready for this to start."

Bombers bits: The Yankees optioned RHP Ivan Nova to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and RHP Hector Noesi to Class A Tampa on Monday. Major League camp now stands at 52 players: 23 pitchers, six catchers, 12 infielders and 11 outfielders.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.