Phil Hughes. After a slow start, Hughes added to his improving performance by tossing four scoreless innings against the Astros on Tuesday night. Another strong outing could make him the front-runner to land a spot in the rotation, likely sending Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen.
Sergio Mitre. The 29 year-old right-hander has pitched much better than many expected this spring, allowing only three runs in nine innings while striking out seven. Hughes and Alfredo Aceves are probably ahead of Mitre in the fifth starter battle, but Mitre has been improving his stock all spring. Consider him the dark horse candidate to make the rotation.
Robinson Cano. The second baseman has been on fire this spring, collecting 10 hits in 22 at-bats. With his strong performance and new spot in the batting order Cano could be primed for his best season yet.
Chad Gaudin. The right-hander simply has not thrown well this spring, but you can often look past spring training statistics. However, you can’t give a free pass to someone who has struggled with early season workouts and experiences extreme fatigue on the mound in the midst of the fifth starter competition.
Marcus Thames. It has not been a great spring for the affable slugger. Brandishing a .143 batting average in 10 games, Thames has struck out six times without drawing a walk. If the Yankees take a flyer on Elijah Dukes, Thames has no shot of making the team.
Jon Albaladejo. He never had a legitimate shot of winning a spot in the bullpen, but any chance of that happening now has passed. Normally Albaladejo is not this bad. Something tells me he could be pitching through an injury. Either way, the logjam in the bullpen will ensure that he opens in the season in Scranton.