Joe Girardi chooses Derek Lowe over Cody Eppley

Newly aquired pitcher Derek Lowe pitches in relief

Newly aquired pitcher Derek Lowe pitches in relief against the Texas Rangers. (Aug. 13, 2012) (Credit: David Pokress)

BALTIMORE -- There were few surprises on the 25-man postseason roster Joe Girardi settled on, but that didn't mean it was without difficult decisions.

Primary among them, Girardi said Sunday, was the decision to take Derek Lowe over Cody Eppley, who went 1-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 59 appearances.

"Eppley's been here all year for us, and he's been good for us," Girardi said. "That was a tough decision."

Lowe, 39, did a good job after being acquired Aug. 13, going 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 17 relief outings. He performed particularly well in September, allowing two earned runs in 141/3 innings for a 1.26 ERA and holding batters to a .149 average in his final nine games.

Also in Lowe's favor, aside from his ability to pitch multiple innings, is his extensive postseason experience, which includes starting ALCS Games 4 and 7 against the Yankees in 2004. He won the clinching game of each of world champion Boston's three postseason series that year.

"He's been there, he's been in tough situations and done a really nice job," Girardi said.

Ivan Nova (12-8), who was 2-4 with a 7.87 ERA in his final eight starts, was left off the roster. Said Girardi, "We still have big plans for this kid.''

Andruw Jones, who hit .142 with a .256 OBP in the season's second half, was left off the roster, as expected, for utilityman Jayson Nix. "I'm disappointed,'' Jones said Saturday. "But I'm more disappointed in myself than anything. I didn't finish the way I wanted to finish, so I don't deserve to be on it. We need guys with a hot bat right now.''

Gardner a non-starter

Brett Gardner, who had right elbow surgery in July, made the postseason roster, but although the elbow passed its last major hurdle last week when he got through an at-bat with no setbacks, that doesn't mean Girardi would be comfortable starting him. Girardi said his planned roles for Gardner are as a pinch runner and defensive replacement, nothing more. "I don't know if I would start him," Girardi said. "The one thing is, he hasn't had a ton of at-bats."

Extra bases

Girardi batted Nick Swisher fifth and Mark Teixeira sixth, something that didn't sound like just a Game 1 batting order. "Right now, that's what I'm going to do, yes," he said. Swisher hit .432 (19-for-44) with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games . . . Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, who attended the final three regular-season games against Boston at the Stadium, was not in attendance Sunday night. The family was represented by general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.

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