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New York Yankee notes: Forget this exhibition stuff!

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Can we just get the regular season started already? Spring Training exhibition games are getting tiresome, and as the scary shot in the arm Mark Teixeira took Monday shows, pretty much only bad things can happen the next few days. So, let's just get to the Red Sox already.

While we wait out those last few days of Spring Training, though, let's look around and see what is going on in Yankee-land.

First and foremost, a couple of roster decisions still need to be made.

  • One of those is who will get the last couple of spots in the Yankee bullpen. Two things might impact that. First is the possibility that Phil Hughes will open the season at AAA since the Yankees won't need a fifth starter for a while. Second is Alfredo Aceves' bad back, which might land him on the DL for a few days.
  • The other decision involves the final outfield slot. It is widely assumed that veteran slugger Marcus Thames will get that spot, but it has not been announced yet.

    Thames history against left-handed pitchers should be enough to get him a spot on the team.

    He has more career home runs off right-handers (61) than left-handers (40), but his .516 career slugging percentage against left-handers intrigued the Yankees. Over the last three seasons against left-handers, he hit .263 with 22 homers and 59 R.B.I. in 316 at-bats. Since 2006, he has averaged a home run every 14.52 at-bats, the fourth-best rate in the American League among players with at least 1,100 at-bats.

    "All the history speaks for itself," said the third-base coach Rob Thomson, who was the director of player development when Thames advanced through Class AA and AAA. "He can hit. He’s always hit. And he really can hit left-handed pitching."

  • Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte is likely to get a chance to pitch in front of Manager Joe Girardi today for the first time.

    "I wanted to see it all spring," the Yankees manager said of the 24-year-old reliever who throws with his right and left hands and will come over from the minor league camp. "I think it's interesting. I would like to put him in against left, right, left. I have been intrigued. He had a great year last year. I asked at one point that I would love to see him."

    The Creighton University product, who was taken in the 20th round of the 2008 draft, is likely to open the season at Double-A Trenton. He is the only ambidextrous pitcher in pro baseball. A natural right-hander, he has been hurling with both arms since three.


    The Yankees don't seem to think Venditte is a major-league prospect. It is still fun to think about, though.

  • Ex-Yankee Johnny Damon and GM Brian Cashman held what basically amounted to a peace summit a couple of days ago.
  • Minor league pitcher Alan Horne, once a top prospect, will miss the 2010 season due to shoulder surgery. For the Yankees, it is just another reminder that you can never collect enough young pitching prospects.
  • Speaking of young pitching prospects, highly-touted Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish has given the first hints that he might like to come to America.