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New York Yankee notes: And the winner is ...

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Are you just dying to know whether Ramiro Pena or Kevin Russo will win the competition for the New York Yankees utility infielder role?

Of course not. The only real intrigue left in Spring Training for the Yankees, and the only thing you really want to know, is whether it will be Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain in the fifth slot of the starting rotation.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi has promised to make his decision this week, but won't tip his hand. Except to say one of them will be a reliever.

"Some times things change because of need," Girardi said when I asked him if he was prepared to pull the starting plug on either of his much-touted former first-round draft picks. "We have four experienced starters here so one of them (Chamberlain or Hughes) will be in the bullpen. That's just the way it is."

The consensus, which I would go along with, is that Hughes has won the slot. Bill Madden put it this way:

"If there still really was a competition, wouldn't it have made more sense to have Chamberlain pitch the first four innings against the Phillie regulars Monday and have Hughes follow him, so they would have been facing essentially the same hitters?

Madden's Daily News colleague Mark Feinsand agreed, reading between the lines of Girardi's assessment of Hughes' work on Monday.

Joe Girardi won’t make any official announcement until Thursday at the earliest, but if Phil Hughes isn’t the fifth starter, I’ll be shocked.

"I thought it was the best he had thrown," Girardi said. "He saw their big boys and threw the ball well. It’s unfortunate that it ended the way it did, but I thought it was the best stuff he’s had."

  • If you are still interested in following the dying days of the old Yankee Stadium, you should be checking Demolition of Yankee Stadium on a regular basis. I hate watching the videos of the old girl coming down, but I can't help myself.
  • At LoHud, Chad Jennings has five questions with Austin Romine. Romine doesn't seem bothered by all the hype around Jesus Montero, the biggest obstacle to Romine's path to the Yankees (sorry, Francisco Cervelli maniacs).

    "I don’t mind it at all. I’ve always been under the radar and I prefer that. I don’t need anything of the focus. I don’t mind it, but I’m a humble guy. I don’t need cameras and stuff in my face. Just stay under the radar, do my work, work hard, and I’ll get a shot hopefully. And when I do I’ll be ready. I’ve been under the radar for three years already."
  • Lots of speculation that the Yankees will end up getting recently returned outfielder Jamie Hoffmann back from the Los Angeles Dodgers via trade. Maybe for Sergio Mitre.
  • River Avenue Blues takes a stab at selecting the best three trades of the Brian Cashman era. I have not fully studied it at this point, but the obvious one RAB left out is the 2000 acquisition of David Justice.