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New York Yankee notes: A little love for Pinstripe Alley

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I am going to start today's New York Yankee notes with an admittedly self-serving bit of news. HotStove.com recently asked a variety of Yankee bloggers to assess the team's biggest off-season moves. Both Travis and I were asked to participate, and did so.

Here is the question we were asked, and our answers.

Out of these three big offseason acquisitions, Nick Johnson, Javier Vazquez, and Curtis Granderson, which one do you think has the biggest chance of being a bust for the Yanks in 2010?

Ed
Johnson has the biggest chance of being a bust, simply because of his injury history. On top of that, he is replacing an incredible clutch hitter in Hideki Matsui. Incidentally, I love the Vazquez and Granderson moves. I think both guys are going to be huge contributors for the Yankees in 2010.

Travis
I have to go with Nick Johnson just because of the injury risk. Say what you will about Vazquez, but he’s almost impeccable when it comes to health (198+ innings for 10 straight years now); and Granderson’s played 140+ games every year since 2005. It’s conceivable that any or all could bust, but at least Vazquez and Granderson will play. Johnson’s played 129+ games only four times in eight years, and missed all of 2007. DHing will keep him health-IER, but it’s no guarantee.

Now that I am done tooting our own horn, here are a couple of other stories of interest to Yankee fans.

Hughes: Ready for the rotation

Phil Hughes Thursday told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that he is focused on beating out Joba Chamberlain for the final spot in the starting rotation.

"I know I'm coming into the spring fighting for a job," Hughes told the AP after a pre-spring training workout on Thursday. "I'm out of the reliever mindset for right now. Anytime nothing is going to be handed to you, you strive to be a little bit better."

Hughes started throwing in mid-December and has thrown fastballs off a mound a couple of times this month. He said that last year's success in a bullpen assignment helped his confidence.

"I definitely feel at a point where I've never been, having the experience of consistently getting big league guys out," Hughes said. "It helps, and obviously winning the World Series also helps."

Derek Jeter is already hard at work in Tampa. He took a little time Thursday to discuss the upcoming season.

"It all goes back to what I always say, if you pitch you have a chance to win. We had great pitchers last year. Our pitchers did a great job. Our bullpen did a great job as well. As long as we stay healthy, I like our chances…I like the team we have."

Zach McCallister is one of the more highly-regarded pitching prospect in the Yankee system. Mike Ashmore shares some thoughts on what the future might hold for the young right-hander.

"Opinions are somewhat mixed on what he can become.  I don’t think anyone foresees him as a top of the rotation starter in the big leagues…but to say he could be a two on some teams, in my opinion, isn’t a stretch.  I think he profiles as a three right now, but that’s only because he doesn’t really have one standout pitch.  He’s not very exciting to watch, as he’s more of a groundball pitcher, but he’ll still rack up the K’s on occasion.  But he is effective, and he’s proven that he’s been ready for the challenge of every level he’s been at. 

"At this point, there seems very little doubt that McAllister is destined for a career in the big leagues…but when that happens, and perhaps more importantly, where that happens, remains to be seen."