CLEARWATER, Fla. - Bryan Mitchell is a long shot to make the Yankees out of camp.

But they like the 23-year-old and, should the need arise early in the season for an extra starter -- a distinct possibility with 30 games in a 31-day stretch from mid-April into May -- Mitchell would be a prime candidate for a call-up.

"I can't tell you how it's going to shake out before we leave spring training, but he's been someone that's been on the Yankees' radar for a while,'' Joe Girardi said. "He's a guy that at some point is going to help us this year.''

Mitchell, a 6-3, 205-pound righthander whom the Yankees took in the 16th round of the 2009 draft, made his first exhibition start Friday afternoon against the Phillies and allowed one hit in two shutout innings, striking out two.

Scouts had Mitchell's fastball at 94 to 96 mph. Two of them separately used the word "sharp'' to describe his outing.

"I thought he did a good job,'' Girardi said. "Used his curveball a little bit today and I continued to see progress from him. He's got a very good arm.''

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Could Mitchell win a job in camp?

"It's hard to say,'' Girardi said. "There's always those guys that maybe you're not sure where they're going to be at, and they just have a great camp and all of a sudden they surprise you and they're a part of your club.''

 

Tanaka moving along

Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game Saturday morning, lining him up for a likely debut Thursday night at Steinbrenner Field against the Braves.

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Long time

Jaron Long, 23, whose father is former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, was a minor-league call-up for the day game in Clearwater. He took over for Mitchell in the bottom of the third and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Carlos Ruiz. Said Long, "It was fun to get out there.''