Girardi pleased with early showings in rotation

Girardi pleased with early showings in rotation

SARASOTA, Fla. -- With five prime contenders vying to fill two vacancies at the back of the Yankees' rotation, manager Joe Girardi could not have imagined a better first impression for the opening week of Spring Training.

The leading candidates have combined for 10 scoreless innings in the Yanks' first four Grapefruit League games, with right-hander Chad Green blanking the Orioles over two frames in New York's 4-1 victory on Monday.

"First time through, everyone has been good, and that's what you want to see," Girardi said. "Hopefully their offspeed [pitches] will become sharper, they will get through lineups where you have to face them twice and you get a better evaluation of them using all their pitches. But first time through, they all did their job."

Green permitted a hit and a walk as he navigated the Orioles' lineup, helping himself by inducing a 6-4-3 double play on Mark Trumbo to clear the bases. Right fielder Aaron Judge also aided Green's effort, cutting down Hyun Soo Kim trying to stretch a single into a double to end the second inning.

Judge shows off his cannon

With Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia standing as the only locks in New York's rotation, Green is trying to state his case against a group that includes Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino and Adam Warren.

"It's still pretty early," Green said. "I'm just trying to take it one day at a time, trying to get ready for the next outing. It's only February, so we've still got a whole other month of baseball left to play to figure out those spots. I'm not really going to worry about the end of March right now."

Mitchell hurled two scoreless, hitless innings with a strikeout in the Yanks' exhibition opener against the Phillies on Friday, a 9-4 win in which Cessa worked two perfect frames of his own with a pair of strikeouts.

Warren logged two perfect innings with two strikeouts in a Saturday start against Philadelphia, a 6-5 Yankees loss, and Severino permitted a hit and walk while completing two scoreless innings in the Yanks' 7-2 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday.

"I think so far, so good," Girardi said. "Strikes, quality strikes, not walking people, using all their pitches. Sevvy threw a number of changeups [Sunday], which we think is really important. I don't think you can ask for anything more at this point."

Green said that the success of the other four pitchers has not added pressure in his case.

"Those guys are pitching well, it seems like," Green said. "I watched Sevvy throw yesterday and he looked good. I'm just trying to focus on myself right now, trying to get ready for the season."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.