NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi glanced at a photograph of Yu Darvish, a profile shot in the uniform of his Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, and he quickly answered correctly when asked to identify the player.
By now, it's impossible not to have heard something about Darvish, at least in baseball circles. The 25-year-old right-hander promises to be a sensation wherever he's headed, but Girardi hesitated when asked if he could picture Darvish in pinstripes.
"He is a young man out of Japan that we know has a lot of talent," Girardi said. "Whenever the Yankees have a chance to get better, we investigate all of our leads. He's someone that we have followed closely, and we'll see what happens."
That's slightly more than Brian Cashman would offer on Wednesday, as the Yankees general manager said via text message that he "wouldn't say" if his team entered a bid for Darvish. ESPN's Buster Olney, however, has reported that the Yanks offered a bid.
Blind bidding closed at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday for the rights to discuss a contract with Darvish. It has been speculated that the winning bid may carry a price tag of $30 million or more.
Since news of Darvish's stated intention to play Major League Baseball, the Yankees have been coy about their plans for the hurler. Most indications from team officials have shown apprehension at the large cost to acquire a pitcher who hasn't thrown a single big league pitch. But they have also scouted Darvish for years, and he could represent a nice fit behind ace CC Sabathia in the rotation.
"It's hard to say," Cashman said last week at the Winter Meetings in Dallas. "He's extremely talented, but in terms of how it transitions and everything else like that, I wouldn't even want to speculate. He's obviously got a great deal of ability."
The Yanks have made it clear that they are interested in upgrading their starting pitching, but they balked at high price tags for erstwhile free agents C.J. Wilson, who signed with the Angels, and Mark Buehrle, now of the Marlins.
"Anything is possible in Yankee-land, we all know that," Girardi said of Darvish. "The process will take place and we'll see what happens. ... He's very talented and whoever gets him is probably getting a very good pitcher."
Cano willing to hit anywhere in Yanks' lineup
NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano wrapped up the 2011 season batting third in the Yankees' lineup, and while the All-Star second baseman was proud of his promotion, he isn't heading into 2012 expecting it to carry over.
Cano said on Wednesday that he didn't know if the club will continue to keep him hitting third in the lineup, a change that manager Joe Girardi made late in September by dropping Mark Teixeira to fifth against right-handed starters.
"It's not going to make any difference," Cano said. "The only difference it's going to make is that I want to work even harder, to not let the team down."
Cano, 29, batted .302 with 28 home runs and a career-high 118 RBIs in 159 games this year. He went no more than two consecutive games without a hit and was regarded as one of the most dangerous hitters in the Yankees' lineup.
While he said that he'd be fine hitting anywhere in the lineup, Cano agreed there would be a certain allure to hitting third.
"When you get in those situations where you want to be, you want to stay there," Cano said. "I know it's a spot in the lineup where you want to produce all the time."
Cano said that he has enjoyed being at home in the Dominican Republic with his family after joining teammate Curtis Granderson on an exhibition tour of Taiwan earlier in the offseason. He also plans to run his so-called "Camp Cano" with Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli, as Cano did last year.
He said that he recently reached out to teammates CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and feels confident about the Yankees' chances even if they do not make any more winter moves.
"It is all about the team that stays healthy," Cano said. "It is about God. Look at the Cardinals. Everyone thought they were out and they came back and won it all. I would say we've got a great team. It is just about who is the [hot] team at the right time."
Girardi in favor of expanding instant replay
NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is in favor of expanding Major League Baseball's replay system to cover more than just home runs.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that MLB has suggested that the replay system could be used to give second looks to fair or foul calls, whether fly balls and line drives are trapped, and fan interference around the ballpark.
"I think anytime you can make sure a call is right, it helps our game," Girardi said. "The big thing is the amount of time it takes, and I think that's probably what has to be worked out. But I think it's important, because we want things to be right."
Umpires still must give their approval to the changes, and it is uncertain if additional replay will be in place by Opening Day.
Girardi said that he understands the argument for human error playing a role in the process but countered, "When you have technology that can clear something up really quickly, I think it's important that we use it."
"You want calls to be right," Girardi added. "As we see, Wild Cards are won and lost by one game a lot of times. I think it's important that everyone has a fair shot."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.