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Phil Hughes picked to be New York Yankees' fifth starter

TAMPA — Phil Hughes was named the Yankees' fifth starter on Thursday, beating out Joba Chamberlain and three others.

"I grew up a starter in high school, minor leagues, even my first couple partial seasons in the big leagues," Hughes said. "It was something that I really wanted, and I feel like I'm ready for the challenge and ready for the season that lies ahead. "

Manager Joe Girardi said Chamberlain is in the mix for the eighth-inning setup role for closer Mariano Rivera.

"You go with the flow," Chamberlain said. "That's what I've done."

Hughes made seven starts last season then was moved to the bullpen after Chien-Ming Wang got hurt. Chamberlain was in the rotation during the regular season then shifted to the bullpen in the postseason.

Hughes might be limited to about 170 innings this season.

"That is the next thing we will iron out," Girardi said. "You learn from last year, in a sense. But every guy's different. Phil Hughes is different than Joba."

The other contenders were Sergio Mitre, Alfredo Aceves and former Ray Chad Gaudin, who was released.

More Gaudin: Gaudin, who turned 27 on Wednesday, will receive $725,410 rather than the $2.95 million salary he and the team agreed to in January to avoid arbitration.

"I'm disappointed; a great team to be with," Gaudin said. "I enjoyed every minute with these guys. I'm sure I'll land somewhere on my feet."

Phillies: Kendrick stays in competition

CLEARWATER — Kyle Kendrick still has a chance of being the No. 5 starter after allowing two runs (one earned) in 5⅔ innings of an 8-7 win over the Astros.

"Obviously, you want to hear something. But it'll come down to the wire," Kendrick, 25, said. "Like I've said before and like I've said all spring, it's out of my hands."

Kendrick is competing with Jamie Moyer, 47, who is scheduled to start tonight.

Halladay sharp: Roy Halladay pitched seven innings against the Yankees' minor-leaguers, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking one. Halladay, who threw 99 pitches, is expected to make one more start before the regular season.

Jays: Rzepczynski knows his problem

LAKELAND — Toronto starter Marc Rzepczynski allowed three runs and walked four in five innings of a 5-1 loss to the Tigers. His ERA rose to 5.06.

"I just can't think when I am out there," Rzepczynski said. "When I'm thinking too much, that's when I get into trouble. I need to just throw pitches. It's not that tough."

Getting ready: Manager Cito Gaston said he will use the projected starting lineup for every game starting Saturday. The only exceptions might be games April 2-3 at Houston's Minute Maid Park.

"It's getting time to get them ready for the season," he said.

fast facts

Yankees

Where: George Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa. Today: vs. Phillies, 7:05.

Information: yankees.com

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Today: at Yankees, 7:05, Tampa.

Information: phillies.com

Blue Jays

Where: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Today: vs. Rays, 1:05.

Information: bluejays.com

Phil Hughes picked to be New York Yankees' fifth starter 03/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 25, 2010 11:33pm]

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