TAMPA — The rap coming from the Yankees is there is a competition for right field and first base. The reality is Aaron Judge and Greg Bird, respectively, are prohibitive favorites to be regulars at those positions barring injury.
Nevertheless, there is a bona fide competition underway for manager Joe Girardi’s final two rotation spots after Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, with five candidates for the two openings.
Bryan Mitchell, who had the club made last spring until a toe injury in the final week of the exhibition season required surgery, got the first shot Friday against the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mitchell worked two perfect innings in a 9-4 win.
Other candidates for the rotation include Luis Severino, Adam Warren, Chad Green and Luis Cessa. All five have experience starting and relieving, so it’s not out of the question one or two of them who don’t grab rotation spots will land in the bullpen.
“I would like to duplicate [last spring’s performance] this [spring] except the Orlando game,’’ Mitchell said of the game against the Braves in which he was hurt last spring.
Warren and Severino follow Mitchell with starts against the Phillies on Saturday in Clearwater, Fla., and the Blue Jays at home Sunday, respectively. Cessa posted two clean innings Friday.
“I think it’s exciting, honestly, we are all pushing each other,’’ Mitchell said of the rotation derby. “But at this point in the game I am not worried.’’
The Yankees pitchers were perfect through six innings, which impressed Mitchell.
“It shows guys are getting ready,’’ Mitchell said.
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