TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi faced a pitching problem: too many pitchers and not enough innings.
Girardi and other team officials spent two hours after Sunday's game against the Detroit Tigers was canceled by rain organizing plans for eight different pitchers."It's a mess," Girardi said. "In the big scope of things, in three months you're not going to say 'Oh, the rain affected you.' Right now it's a pain."The Yankees set up an intrasquad game Monday, which will have fifth starter candidate Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte face each other. Closer Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Chan Ho Park and David Robertson will also pitch.A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, who is also competing for the final rotation spot, will pitch in a road game against Philadelphia.It might be the final opportunity for Chamberlain and Hughes to make an impression on Girardi for the starting spot. Girardi said the winner could be named Thursday or Friday.Also, Detroit's Johnny Damon hit in a batting cage, but never got on the field in his return to Steinbrenner Field. Damon signed a free-agent contract with Detroit on Feb. 23 after hitting .282 with 24 homers and 82 RBIs last season with the Yankees en route to a World Series championship."In the game of baseball, it's full of adjustments," Damon said. "New players all the time, and for me, a new city."Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander, Sunday's scheduled starter, returned to the Tigers complex to throw off a mound.Tigers manager Jim Leyland said third baseman Brandon Inge, who had surgery on both knees in November, should be ready for opening day. Inge was in the leadoff spot on Sunday.
Girardi said winning the World Series last year took a huge weight off the back of Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez. "He doesn't have to spend time answering those questions: How he's going to be in the postseason," Girardi said. "He was a monster last postseason. He seems like he's in a really good place." ... New York OF Curtis Granderson, hit by a pitch on the bottom of the right hand Friday, was in the starting lineup. ... When told that Rivera has indicated he could pitch for a few more years, Leyland said it doesn't help him much. "He throws one pitch and you don't hit it," Leyland said. ... The Yankees reassigned RHP Dustin Moseley, Cs Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, and OFs Colin Curtis and Reid Gorecki to their minor league camp.