MLB Spring Training 2012: Yankees' Joe Girardi Has a Tough Decision to Make

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MLB Spring Training 2012: Yankees' Joe Girardi Has a Tough Decision to Make
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has had the entire spring training to observe and evaluate all of the candidates for the starting pitching rotation. The time has arrived for Girardi to make his decision, and this one will be difficult.

The Yankees currently have six pitchers to choose from to fill the five spots on the rotation. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have guaranteed positions, so that leaves three spots that remain, and four pitchers available to choose from.

This decision is going to be stressful for Girardi, as he evaluates all of the data and information generated from spring training performances.

He has an open mind, and even if he has an initial decision made already, he is open to changing his mind.

Girardi knows that all of the candidates can contribute positively and effectively, and if it appears that he makes the wrong decision, he has the ability to make changes.

One of the qualities that Girardi looks for in a potential starter is the ability to constantly improve. All of the candidates have shown some improvement this spring training, which doesn't make this decision any easier.

Girardi said that depending on who doesn't make the cut, he could fill a role as a relief pitcher in the bullpen, or he could be sent down to the minors.

Adding to the stress and difficulty is the pending comeback of Andy Pettitte, possibly within a month. Complicated matters will become even further complicated.

Take a look at the four pitchers who are in competition for three spots in the starting rotation.

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