02/27/10 3:14 PM EST
Yankees map out spring rotation
Gaudin gets first licks in opener; CC lined up for Thursday
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland finalized mapping out the first 11 games of the Grapefruit League slate, tabbing Chad Gaudin to throw the first pitch of Wednesday's exhibition opener against the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET, a game that will be broadcast on MLB.TV.
Fifth-starter hopefuls Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves will also pitch in the Yankees' first game of the spring, throwing approximately 35 pitches or two innings. That sets up ace CC Sabathia to match against the Phillies' Roy Halladay at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday in Clearwater, Fla., also available on MLB.TV.
The Yankees stayed off the field Saturday, chased to the indoor cages and weight room by inclement weather in Tampa, but Girardi said that he believes his players are ready to get started against outside competition. The Yankees will not play an intrasquad game this spring.
"I know hitters don't like facing our own pitchers," Girardi said. "I think guys are excited to start playing baseball. We've practiced for two weeks, and now it's time to get at it."
Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain will continue their own fight for a rotation spot at 1:05 p.m. on Friday against the Rays on MLB.TV, and Girardi said the idea of having both candidates pitch in the same game was due to design.
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"It gives them a couple of extra days to get ready," Girardi said. "There is no coincidence there."
A.J. Burnett pitches March 6 at 1:05 p.m. against the Blue Jays on MLB.TV, with Mitre and Gaudin taking the ball on March 7 at 1:05 p.m. against the Twins -- a trip to Fort Myers, Fla., that Andy Pettitte will skip, throwing a bullpen session in Tampa instead to avoid any back issues. Pettitte will see his first game action on March 12 at 1:05 p.m. vs. Washington in Viera, Fla.
"As you start getting the third or fourth time through the rotation, it becomes more difficult," Girardi said. "We do have split-squads, which help out. You might see CC or A.J. make a start down below [at the Minor League level], just so we can see the other guys."
While it is too early to completely plan through March, Girardi acknowledged that it is his idea to have Sabathia pitch Opening Night on April 4 at Boston, with A.J. Burnett facing the Red Sox on April 6 and Pettitte on April 7.
"That's probably the plan right now," he said.
Bombers bits: Right-handed reliever Chan Ho Park was expected to be in Tampa on Saturday and the Yankees could announce his signing as soon as Sunday. Park, 36, announced on Monday that he had agreed to a one-year, $1.2 million contract. ... Outfielder Greg Golson had been wearing No. 61, but has switched to No. 27, clearing it for Park's arrival. ... Infield coach Mick Kelleher has left the club to attend to a personal matter in California and is expected to return on Tuesday. ... Sabathia had his bullpen session pushed to Sunday due to the inclement weather.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.