Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Yankees have gotten a lot of promising performances from their starting pitchers this spring, and David Phelps is looking to join that list. As one of the pitchers in the Yankees' fifth starter race, Phelps will be looking to turn out a good outing against the Tampa Bay Rays today at The Boss.

Phelps was roughed up in his last outing against a no-name Baltimore Orioles lineup.

With the O's playing almost none of their expected Opening Day starters, Phelps was being hit hard, but only gave up one run on five hits, while walking one and striking out two in 2.2 innings.

"They got some hits, but I feel like I was able to bear down those first two innings and pitch out of some spots, which is huge," Phelps said after the game. "If there's ever a time to work on something like that, Spring Training is a great time."

Joe Girardi has already said that he expects Phelps to be on the team in some capacity, whether it be in the rotation or the bullpen, where he has shown he can pitch, too.

If Michael Pineda continues to pitch as well as he did against the Detroit Tigers on Friday night, it might be his fifth starter job to lose, while Phelps ends up in the bullpen because he can pitch there, and the Yankees don't necessarily know if Pineda can handle life as a reliever.

Today's lineup against Tampa Bay:

Girardi called Kelly Johnson to likely backup for Mark Teixeira this season, and with that comes Johnson's first start at first base this spring. Derek Jeter is back in the lineup, playing shortstop. The man we're all rooting for, Yangervis Solarte, will also be starting today as Girardi continues to showcase his versatility by penciling him in at third base.

Among the relievers listed for Girardi today are Dellin Betances, who has been great so far this spring, Preston Claiborne, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, Mark Montgomery, Bruce Billings and Danny Burawa.

You can watch today's 1:05 pm ET game on YES or list on WFAN. You can even follow along on Twitter for updates.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog


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