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Joba? Hughes? Whoever starts, A-Rod says, Yanks are the winner

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez stretches during spring

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez stretches during spring training baseball at Steinbrenner Field. (February 25, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

TAMPA, Fla. - Alex Rodriguez weighed in on the hottest topic of Yankees training camp and, like others, played it down the middle.

"They're both great young pitchers and it's a great luxury for us to have," Rodriguez said of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. "You can kind of just throw the ball up in the air and whoever comes down , I think the Yankees are the winner. It's a good problem to have."

When Rodriguez faced Hughes Sunday during a live batting-practice session, he fired consecutive fastballs past A-Rod, who swung and missed at both. "Phil has a good arm," Rodriguez said.

A short time later, however, Hughes heard a crack of the bat he described as sounding "like thunder" as A-Rod short-hopped the wall in right-center. "He was setting me up, baiting me to throw another fastball," Hughes said with a smile.

Hughes and Chamberlain are ready to go Friday, both said. Hughes will start that game against the Rays and will be relieved by Chamberlain, who also threw a live BP session yesterday. "You like throwing against your guys,'' Chamberlain said, "but it's [time to] get going and getting in the routine of every fifth day and how you're going to attack guys."

Uninterested observer

No, CC Sabathia said, he won't be watching Roy Halladay closely Thursday when the Yankees face the Phillies in each pitcher's 2010 debut.

"I'm in the dugout eating seeds and goofing off," he said, laughing. "He's a great pitcher. But it's spring training. If I face him during the regular season, I'd probably be more concerned because I'll probably have to hit."

The Yankees play the Phillies June 15-17 in the Bronx. So Sabathia won't have to hit.

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