All spring, much of the discussion in Yankees camp has centered on the fifth-starter competition. It’s easily the biggest story in camp, which is pretty amazing considering these are the Yankees and we’re talking about the last spot in the rotation.
“I think people are interested, that’s why,” Joe Girardi said. “Because once that’s set then you iron out your bullpen from there. There’s a lot kind of up in the air because you don’t know who’s in your bullpen because of the fifth-starter spot. I’m not really surprised (by the attention).”
Some of the focus on the back of the rotation might be because the other big competition in camp is for literally the last spot on the roster, and neither leading candidate is playing especially well. Marcus Thames went 0-for-3 today. He struck out twice and saw his average dip to .107. Jamie Hoffmann came off the bench and went 0-for-1, lowing his average to .130.
“We still have time with that,” Girardi said. “That (decision) we’re not in such a big hurry to make.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame media session. He talks a lot about the fifth-starter situation, but gets into a few other things toward the end.
• The picture up top isn’t of either fifth-outfielder candidate, but it is a cool AP shot of Robinson Cano, who hit his first home run of the spring.
• A.J. Burnett will start on Sunday, with Phil Hughes pitching in relief. Joba Chamberlain will start on Monday, with Andy Pettitte pitching in a minor league game.
• Brett Gardner had a bunt single and a triple, both off Brett Myers, to raise his average to .281. Girardi wasn’t especially bothered by the fact Gardner was picked off first base. “I would rather see him find out what he can get now, and be more aggressive now,” Girardi said. “Then we can tone it back as opposed to being passive.”
• Another base hit for Kevin Russo, another base hit for Jon Weber and another base hit for Greg Golson, all of whom have looked really good this spring and are hitting better than .300. Reid Gorecki is hitting just .143, but he can really run. He tripled today and was flying around the bases.
• Boone Logan pitched a scoreless inning, but he did allow a hit to the only lefty he faced.
• Apparently the Yankees have been asked to speed up their games. Sounds good to me, but I’m kind of with Girardi on this one. Sometimes baseball takes a long time. I wish that weren’t the case, but that’s the way it is.