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New York Yankees Notes: Rooting For Mark Prior

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Good morning, New York Yankees fans! Here are a few stories of interest found floating around the Inter-Google.

Mark Prior out to pitch in for Yankees as ex-Cubs ace makes comeback after injuries derailed career
"I think a lot of people wonder if I'm bitter," Prior says in a telephone interview from his native San Diego. "But I'm not. I'm blessed to have three healthy kids, a loving family and friends. When I was a rookie, did I have a vision of what my career would be? Absolutely. Has it gone that way? Absolutely not. But that's life.

"I think I've proved, at least to myself, that I've been able to overcome a lot. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my career. I knew back then that I was getting to the big leagues, but there are no guarantees at this phase ... Now I'm hoping to turn the page and reclaim my baseball career."

You have to root for Prior. He could have given up on baseball years ago. If he helps the Yankees at the big-league level, even a little bit, in 2011 that will be a pretty cool story.

Catching prospect Austin Romine talks about young arms in Yankee system | New York Daily News
"There are so many good pitchers in our organization and it's being overlooked. DJ Mitchell, (David) Phelps, (Dellin) Betances, (Andrew) Brackman. They're all really good. I had the good fortune to catch a few of them in Double A and see them go up and I'm really proud of that. Then I got a younger crop that came up from (Class) A. Those guys are making big strides. Banuelos out here was lights out in (the AFL All-Star game). That was one of the top starts I've seen.

"That's tough for a 19 year old kid. Ninety percent of the guys on that field (in the AFL A-S game) are going to the big leagues and he came out and to pitch the way he did, he should be nothing but confident now. And I love seeing him gaining that confidence every month, it seems like, from when I got him from high A. He came up wide-eyed, a young kid. I didn't know who he was and he was throwing gas. To see him mature over that time is great. He's only 19 now and that's young and he's mature over his years."

Chris Young, Chad Durbin, Marcus Thames among best free agents - Jon Heyman - SI.com
The biggest free-agent stars have already signed for big bucks. And while several name players remain -- Adrian Beltre, Rafael Soriano, Vladimir Guerrero, Carl Pavano, Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche to name a half dozen notables -- there are also some relatively low-priced presents still available under the free-agent tree. For teams that saved their money for after-Christmas shopping, these players are worth a look, and probably won't cost eight figures, or in most cases even multiple years.

The bottom of the barrel is in sight - Yankees Blog - ESPN New York
It's December 27th and the New York Yankees are still waiting to hear from Andy Pettitte. The final two rotation spots will, as of right now, be filled by the likes of Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. Like most of you, these options don't fill me with confidence, though we're not hitting the panic button just yet.

The free agent options for the Yanks are dwindling fast, with Brandon Webb signing with the Rangers yesterday. Webb, once a Cy Young winner, is now just another pitcher recovering from a serious shoulder injury. And shoulder injuries, unlike elbows, are much more difficult to return from.

So who could be a possible target for the Yanks to fill in the back end of the rotation? The choices aren't inspiring.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Mattingly embraces unlikely chance - MLB News | FOX Sports on MSN
Don Mattingly is looking forward to his new role as bench boss for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Francisco Cervelli, Backup Catcher: No More, No Less | TYU
TYU says Cervelli should never be viewed as anything more than a quality backup catcher. Sadly for our hero, I agree.