A decision about the Yankees fifth starter is coming, and it’s coming soon.
“We’ve got Tuesday off and Wednesday we’ll probably have some serious discussions about what our next move is and who we feel is going to get innings,” Joe Girardi said.
Today, Girardi watched two of his candidates pitch. He watched Joba Chamberlain get a ton of ground balls in the intrasquad game and he watched Phil Hughes strikeout six against the Phillies. By the end of the week, the Yankees fifth-starter candidates will at least be trimmed. Girardi wouldn’t rule out anything. He said it’s possible both Hughes and Chamberlain end up in the bullpen. He said it’s possible — but unlikely — that someone goes to Triple-A. It’s possible a couple of candidates will get one more start before the Yankees make a decision.
“We have five guys,” he said. “We have, in a sense, one spot in the rotation and three in the bullpen. I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen. We still have two weeks to go.”
Here’s Girardi’s morning session after Chamberlain pitched in the intrasquad game. He said there was “no rhyme or reason” to which pitchers pitched in which game.
Here’s Girardi’s postgame session after Hughes pitched and moves were made.
• A.J. Burnett allowed five runs in his first inning against the Phillies, but settled down to pitch the next three scoreless. “I threw some good changeups,” Burnett said. “They got hit, but you keep throwing them. It’s different. In the season, you might start off bringing the curveball out a little earlier, but we wanted to establish that fastball early and they swung early.”
• Chamberlain on his changeup: “It keeps getting better. This was probably the best my changeup’s ever been. I threw some great pitches today. There’s times I got a little bit tired but those are times you’ve got to bear in and not take a pitch off because it can hurt you… I got a swing and a miss on Weber who has been hitting the ball great all spring. To see a guy who’s been locked in like that to swing through a changeup is a good sign for me. And I got him to roll over on a changeup in his first at-bat.”
• You really have to consider Marcus Thames a heavy favorite to make the team now that Jamie Hoffmann has been sent back to Los Angeles. “As I’ve said all along, Marcus has the most experience in that situation and against left-handers and has a proven track record,” Girardi said. “But we’ll continue to evaluate the other guys.”
• Ramiro Pena also has the “most experience” label in the utility infielder competition.
• Mariano Rivera got three outs, one of them a strikeout. He is scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday. “Feeling good fellas, feeling good,” he said.
• Chan Ho Park was dominant in the intrasquad game: Seven outs, five strikeouts, one hit. He threw 29 pitches, 21 for strikes. “He did everything we wanted him to do,” Girardi said.
• Damaso Marte got four outs, including a double play. He walked one, struck out one and allowed two hits. Dave Robertson also got four outs. He struck out three and walked one.
• Mike Rivera has a sore hamstring, leading to a brilliant tweet from Mark Feinsand.
• The hitters stats from the intrasquad game.
Thames: 3-for-10, all three hits off Pettitte.
Winn: 4-for-9, double
Golson: 3-for-6, double
Gorecki: 6-for-10, 3 doubles and a walk, doubled off Rivera
Miranda: 1-for-5, double
Hoffmann: 2-for-4, walk
• Judd Golsan was the only lower-level minor leaguer to bat in the intrasquad game, probably because he’s a lefty. He went 0-for-4 but did draw a walk.
• As for numbers you can find in a box score, Mark Teixeira went 4-for-4 today against the Phillies. Curtis Granderson went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double off lefty Cole Hamels. Ramiro Pena also had two hits.
• Royce Ring retired the only batter he faced, getting lefty Raul Ibanez to pop out.