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Girardi: “It won’t be a seven or six-man rotation”

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For two days now, Brian Cashman has made it clear that he’s interested in trading away some of his excess pitching to add a bat. He said it during Monday’s conference call, and he said it again during Tuesday’s press conference.

“I think we’re going to look to trade some pitching first,” he said, “and explore if there are some matches that way before we even explore what the free agent opportunities are.”

But what if the Yankees can’t make a trade? What if they can’t find someone to take on A.J. Burnett’s salary, or can’t find legitimate value for Phil Hughes? What if they enter spring training with seven starters for five spots?

“I can tell you it won’t be a seven or six-man rotation,” Joe Girardi said. “It’ll be five. If we were going to leave today, we’d have to make some tough decisions by April. It’s something that we’re going to take time to evaluate. I’m in no hurry. I can tell you that CC is in our rotation, and that he’s going to start the first game of the year. But, in saying that, I’m not sure that everything is done before we go to Spring Training. Right now we’ve got seven starters, and we’re going to have to make some decisions.”

No surprise that Girardi said he expects Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova to be in the rotation, and clearly Hiroki Kuroda wasn’t signed for long relief, but Girardi also talked about pitchers earning their spots.

So what’s the rotation going to be?

“Who we think our best five starters are, and how our 12 man staff works the best,” Girardi said.

Associated Press photo