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Yankees' Rotation Battle: Garcia, Colon, Nova, Mitre Impressing

It is still early, three weeks away from the start of the regular season in fact, but the New York Yankees have to feel good about what they have seen thus far from the four candidates vying for the fourth and fifth spots in their starting pitching rotation.

Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova have now pitched a combined total of 24 Spring innings and surrendered just three earned runs -- all by Colon in his nine innings of work.That is a combined earned-run average of 1.13 for the foursome.

Garcia, who won 12 games with the Chicago White Sox a year ago, would seem a pretty safe bet to earn one of the starting spots.

Colon, trying to make a comeback after not pitching in 2010, has struck out 12, walked one and allowed just eight hits in his nine innings. He is the only one of the four to allow any runs thus far, but he has been exceptionally impressive. Nova, who has allowed just three hits and has yet to walk a batter, would seem to be Colon's primary competition. Colon is 37 and a former American League Cy Young Award winner. Nova, 24, pitched in 10 games for the Yankees last season and was considered a favorite for one of the two spots entering Spring Training.

Mitre has been a spot starter and long reliever for the Yankees for the past two seasons. Most likely that is the role he is once again destined for.