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Bullpen hopefuls: Edwar Ramirez

As we have been discussing New York Yankee bullpen candidates one guy we have not mentioned is a pitcher we have seen quite a bit of in the Bronx the past three seasons.

That would be Edwar Ramirez, the beanpole skinny right-handed changeup specialist.

i have to admit I love the guy. Maybe it is because he doesn't look like a major-league pitcher. Maybe it is the unconventional repertoire. Maybe it is the back story which saw him get bounced out of pro ball, teach himself the changeup and pitch his back to the big leagues.

Maybe it is all of the above. Ramirez, though, is a guy I have always rooted for. I have wanted him to succeed ever since Joe Torre buried and embarrassed him by not using him for something like three weeks in 2007.

Question is, has the Good Ship Edwar already sailed? In other words, is Ramirez -- now 28 -- already out of realistic chances to be a productive, trusted member of the Yankee bullpen?

We know the Ramirez story. Absolutely devastating changeup, but really not much to go with it. An average to below average fastball that he really doesn't trust, and a little slider that is hardly more than a "show me" pitch.

If Ramirez, 28, is going to get big-league hitters out, he has to do it with his changeup.

In 2008 he was able to throw strikes and do just that, even sometimes being used by Girardi in lieu of a left-handed specialist. He appeared in 55 games with a very respectable 3.90 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and held hitters to a .215 batting average. He surrendered 7 home runs in 55 innings.

In 2009, things did not go as well for Edwar. He made the team out of Spring Training, but was quickly banished to Scranton -- victimized by poor control and an inability to keep balls from flying over the short right-field porch in Yankee Stadium. He surrendered 6 home runs in just 22 innings, hitters rocked him for a .281 average, he walekd 18 hitters in 22 innings and pitched to an ERA of 5.73. He spent most of the season in AAA.

So, which Edwar is the real deal? And, will he be given another real chance to show what he can do in the Bronx?

To be honest, I'm not sure about the answer to either question.