With four slots already set in their starting rotation, the New York Yankees are letting Ivan Nova and David Phelps battle it out in spring training for the fifth and final spot. On Saturday, Phelps started the competition off well, pitching two scoreless innings in New York's Grapefruit League opener against the Atlanta Braves.
"I was really happy with the way I commanded my fastball," said Phelps, following Saturday's win. "That was one of the biggest things that I wanted to do, come in today and get ahead of guys with my fastball. I felt we were able to do that today."
Though Phelps was pleased with his stat line, allowing three hits and no walks in two scoreless innings, the young right-hander is focused on his mechanics and making sure everything feels right at this point.
"Results are always going to matter to me, but as of right now I'm happy my arm felt good," Phelps said. "I felt my stuff is where it needed to be for right now. I'm really satisfied with the way the ball was coming out. That's one of the biggest things for me, is just the ball coming out, keeping it down and hitting my spots. That's really important for me."
Phelps understands he could be auditioning for the final spot in New York's rotation, but isn't worried about competing with Nova.
"I'm not coming into the spring trying to beat somebody out for the spot," Phelps said. "I'm just trying to go out and continue what I was doing last year and have some success, and hopefully build my confidence up and get ready for the season to be ready to pitch in whatever role they ask me to."
The 26 year-old Phelps was 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 33 appearances, including 11 starts, in his rookie season with the Yankees last year.
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