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David Phelps to start Yankees' Grapefruit League opener

Phelps gets Saturday nod with Adam Warren to follow on Sunday
02/19/2013 2:28 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

David Phelps will start the Yankees' spring opener against Atlanta on Saturday.(AP)
David Phelps came to New York Yankees camp in 2012 as a prospect looking to impress and hopefully find a future place on the team; now, barely a full calendar year later, he finds himself as the opening day starter – chronologically, at least – for MLB’s most decorated franchise.

Yankees Manager Joe Girardi announced his starters for the team’s first two Grapefruit League games this weekend, with Phelps getting the nod for the spring opener against the Atlanta Braves in Lake Buena Vista on Saturday and righty Adam Warren to follow in the home opener against Toronto on Sunday.

Last spring, Phelps and Warren, along with since-traded righty D.J. Mitchell, began the spring as “extra” arms and ended up in a three-way competition for the long relief role after Michael Pineda was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Phelps went on to post a 4-4 record and 3.44 ERA in 33 games (11 starts) for the 2012 Bombers, while Warren came up to make one spot start late June and Mitchell made four relief appearances over two stints in the Bronx before being sent to Seattle as part of the Ichiro Suzuki deal in July.

Beyond the weekend starts for Phelps and Warren, Girardi was noncommittal about his rotation; however, with Phil Hughes sidelined at least a few days with back stiffness and CC Sabathia expected to miss at least the first turn through the rotation while working his way back from October elbow surgery, it’s likely that at least one or two of the prospects in camp will earn a start early on.

After Saturday’s opener, the Yankees’ first day off during the Grapefruit League schedule isn’t until Monday, March 4, and the team will need two starters for a pair of split squad games next Thursday.

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