Chamberlain and Hughes throw BP
Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, the front-runners for the Yankees' fifth starter spot, threw batting practice for the first time Friday.
Don't read too much into the schedule, though.
``You're competing against yourself,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``You're trying to make yourself better and that's the attitude we want from all our players. I think that's the competitive nature inside of them. They're trying to throw well and open people's eyes.''
Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre also are under consideration to join CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez in the rotation.
Jorge Posada caught Hughes and hit against Chamberlain.
``They have grown in a good way,'' Posada said. ``You see a lot of good things. You see all the things the scouts were talking about. How they handle themselves.''
Hughes threw 31 pitches, while Chamberlain made 33.
``We don't want them to try to do too much right now,'' Girardi said. ``They're just preparing for their starts. You want to see them working on pitches that maybe they need work on. Command. If there's anything that we have to adjust a little bit and try to do that before they get into the game.''
Chamberlain went 9-6 last season in 32 games - 31 starts. All 10 of his postseason appearances came as a reliever.
``I knew from Day 1 it was going to be a competition,'' Chamberlain said. ``What I do today will dictate what I do tomorrow, in April and hopefully down the road.''
Hughes had an 8-3 record, coming out of the bullpen in 44 of his 51 games last year. The right-hander had nine additional relief outings during the playoffs.
``I don't think you can have too many lapses with so much on the line,'' Hughes said. ``It's not like you have three months of spring training. Once March 1 rolls around and those games start coming, you have four, five outings. You need to start showing something out of those few outings you have.''
There is a chance both Chamberlain and Hughes could wind up in setup roles for closer Mariano Rivera. Both have had success previously in that role.
``Competition is good,'' Posada said. ``I think it brings the best out of the player. Whoever is going to be the fifth starter, it's well deserved. We're going to find out who is going to step up for it.''
NOTES: Posada had to jump out of the way of low inside pitch from Chamberlain. ... Sabathia, the expected opening day starter, will throw BP for the first time Saturday. Burnett is set to face hitters Monday, with Pettitte scheduled for Tuesday and Vazquez on Wednesday. ... Burnett and Vazquez each had bullpen sessions on Friday. ... Rivera and LHP Damaso Marte remain scheduled for their first mound sessions Monday.