The Battle for the 5th Spot Lives On…and 4 are left standing.

**UPDATED 3/23/10**

The Spring Training Statistics of the 5 4 guys battling for the 5th spot in the rotation (in order of least to most likely to win the job):

Chad Gaudin– Waived

0-3 (W-L) 8.68 ERA 4 GP 2 GS 9.1 IP 16 Hits 10 R 9 ER 2 HR  5 BB 5 K

Career as Starter: 21-28 (W-L) 4.72 ERA

Looks like Gaudin may have played himself right off the Yankees roster. **On Tuesday Gaudin was waived by the Yankees if he does not wish to play in AAA he can just become a free agent.**

Sergio Mitre

0-0 (W-L) 3.21 ERA 4 GP 2 GS 14.0 IP 9 Hits 5 R 5 ER 1 HR 3 BB 14 K

Career as Starter: 13-23 (W-L) 5.47 ERA

Expectations are either Mitre or Gaudin will be traded. It is possible Gaudin played himself right off the team, but also possible Mitre has hurt his chances of staying with the Yanks by having a strong spring.

Alfredo Aceves

1-1 (W-L) 3.77 ERA 4 GP 2 GS 14.1 IP 5 Hits 6 R 6 ER 1 HR 1 BB 2 K

Career as Starter: 1-0 (W-L) 3.42 ERA (5 Starts)

Aceves is probably undoubtedly the most deserving to win the 5th starter job based on his spring performances, but lets be real it’s just not going to happen. Although this should help his case to get some important innings during the season. **Well so much for his almost perfect spring, after having a strong 1st 3 innings yesterday Alfredo was rocked for 5 ER against the Astros.**

Phil Hughes

0-2 (W-L) 4.15 ERA 4 GP 1 GS 13.0 IP 12 Hits 6 R 6 ER 5 HR 2 BB 10 K

Career as Starter: 8-9 (W-L) 5.22 ERA

Hughes has impressed in the Spring working on his pitches, and he put it all together with a phenomenal 4 IP performance closing the game against Houston on 3/16. Hughes was putting together a strong performance against the Phils on 3/22 but gave up 3 HR including a 2-Run walk off shot.

Joba Chamberlain

0-0 (W-L) 16.20 ERA 3 GP 1 GS 6.2 IP 10 Hits 12 R 12 ER 1 HR 7 BB 5 K

Career as Starter: 12-7 (W-L) 4.18 ERA

If you’re a fan who only looks at the stats and doesn’t follow exactly what is happening I know your probably saying “ouch”, but lets not throw Chamberlain in single A just yet. His velocity looks good considering it is so early and not perfect conditions for a power arm (Sabathia has an ERA over 8.00) plus it is still only spring. The concern is he is fighting for a spot in the rotation and his numbers don’t reflect a guy who has been given a huge opportunity. He pitched against Yankee hitters in an intrasquad game on 3/22 going 5 IP allowing 2 ER.

My overall outlook is this is still a two man race between Hughes and Chamberlain, and has been the whole time, but don’t let the numbers fool you. I still get the gut feeling the Yankees will start the season with Joba in the starting rotation and then they will take it from there. They have put a lot of time into making Joba a starter, and putting him in the bullpen now would just be a huge setback. I am not against having one of them in the starting rotation then putting one in AAA since I see them both as starters in the long run, but I’d rather them both see major league batters. The sooner a decision the better so neither guy gets led on, and that way you fans will not have to read us bloggers discuss this issue ever again!

Update (3/22): Many have been saying it is now Hughes job to lose, but after his performance against the Phillies you have to wonder if anyone wants the job. Sure he struck out 6 but 3 HR in only 4.1 IP is worrisome, and the HRs were not the only hard hit balls off Hughes. Without a knockout blow yet it seems like this fight is going to a decision.

Update (3/23): With Gaudin being waived there are only 4 guys left in contention for the 5th starter job. The most likely outcome seems Hughes will wind up 5th starter with the other 3 men in the bullpen. In my opinion IF Hughes is named the 5th starter Joba would benefit more from starting in AAA. My opinion is Joba should be 5th starter with Aceves and Hughes in the bullpen while Mitre also moves to AAA and Boone Logan sticks with the team as a 2nd lefty in the bullpen.

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