Girardi will pare starters to five

Joe Girardi looks on during batting practice prior

Joe Girardi looks on during batting practice prior to their game against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium. (June 12, 2011) (Credit: Getty Images)

Pitchers and catchers don't report for another three-plus weeks, and Opening Day remains over two months away. But that didn't stop Joe Girardi from making some announcements about his 2012 Yankees pitching staff.

"I can tell you that CC is in our rotation, and that he's going to start the first game of the year," the Yankees manager said yesterday at Jorge Posada's Yankee Stadium news conference to announce his retirement.

That was all to which Girardi would commit, however. With seven starting pitchers on his roster -- including free agent Hiroki Kuroda, whose signing hasn't been announced -- Girardi knows he'll have decisions to make.

"I can tell you it won't be a six-man or a seven-man rotation. It'll be a five-man rotation," Girardi said. "Things have a way of working their way out. If we were to leave today, we'd have some tough decisions to make by April 1. It's something that we're going to take time to evaluate. We're in no hurry."

Cashman reiterated that the team will look to trade from its excess pitching to acquire a bat who could replace the traded Jesus Montero at designated hitter. Yet it will be virtually impossible to deal the expensive and underachieving A.J. Burnett, and the club would be selling low on Phil Hughes.

It seems just as likely that the Yankees will go to camp with all seven starters, sign a free agent to help at DH and see if everyone stays healthy through camp.

"Right now, it appears that we have a surplus of starters," Girardi said. "But a lot can change in the next two days, two weeks, two months."

Martin signs. The Yankees and Russell Martin agreed to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration. The contract reportedly is worth $7.5 million, plus $100,000 in incentives.

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