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Bryan Mitchell’s bid for a Yankees rotation spot hits speed bump

Yankees' Bryan Mitchell warming up before the start

Yankees' Bryan Mitchell warming up before the start against the Philadelphia Phillies in game one during spring training on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.  Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

BRADENTON, Fla. — The Yankees’ last two rotation spots won’t be decided this week or next. It’s too early in spring training.

Still, manager Joe Girardi didn’t do much to hide his feelings about Bryan Mitchell’s third exhibition start. After two solid outings, Mitchell wasn’t good Monday afternoon in a 13-1 loss to the Pirates in front of 7,017 at Lecom Park.

“You look at how many of those they have,” Girardi said, meaning poor outings. “I know it’s still pretty early but you want to see, what’s he do his next start? Does he bounce back?”

Mitchell, 25, who is in a competition with Adam Warren, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino and Chad Green for the two open spots, allowed four runs and six hits in 2 1⁄3 innings. He had not allowed a run or a hit in five innings in two previous starts.

“I just made too many mistakes in the zone,” Mitchell said. “I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand today the best out of my three starts, especially in the first [inning]. I was attacking guys, first-pitch strikes. Felt great in the first, then second inning, mistakes in the zone.”

Girardi was not as complimentary.

“His command was not good, really, with any of his pitches today, and it cost him,” he said. “He didn’t control his fastball, his curveball wasn’t as sharp as I’ve seen it. Some of his sliders were not strikes. So he really didn’t have a whole lot today.”

Niese takes mound

Former Met Jon Niese, brought in at the start of camp on a minor-league contract to compete for a bullpen spot, pitched a scoreless sixth in his debut. He allowed one hit and induced a groundout and two flyouts.

“Pretty good,” Girardi said. “Looked like he commanded the baseball well and threw what he wanted to throw. He’s an experienced guy. Kind of what I expect.”

Tough to move

The Yankees have made it known that utilityman Rob Refsnyder is available in a trade, but there doesn’t seem to be much initial interest in the once-hyped prospect.

“Doesn’t have a position, never really has, and the power hasn’t developed,” one opposing team scout said.

Refsnyder, who is likely to start the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre if he is not traded, is 2-for-17.

CC you soon

CC Sabathia will be the last of the rotation members to appear in a game. He is set to make his exhibition debut Tuesday afternoon at Steinbrenner Field against the Rays.

New York Sports