Joba in an interview with The Sporting News on February 7th:
"It's going to be a battle. The greatest part about it is that not only is going to make the guys who will be fighting for that spot better, but it's going to make our team better."
"I'm going to grab the bull by the horns, get after it in spring training and see what happens."
Hughes to the Post on the 11th:
“I know I’m coming into the spring fighting for a job.... I’m out of the reliever mindset for right now."
What's all this "fighting for a job" nonsense? Is somebody going to come into the clubhouse and lock the Figure Four on the other? Are the Yankee pitching coaches going to judge these guys on effective striking, grappling, and octagon control? Last time I checked, it's probably more important that they come out and throw strikes, make batters work, and make good pitches when they have to.
These guys need to cut the crap with all the cliches and just go out and pitch; the more they focus on the "battle" and "fight," the less they're going to be focusing on doing their job and winning the spot. And if they are going to stick to cliches, they might want to think about remembering to "give 110%" and "take everything one play at a time."
It's not like either of these guys aren't going to make the 25-man roster, and it's not like the Yankees aren't going to be willing to swap their spots in the rotation and bullpen if they have to, either because of performance or because they have to get creative with Hughes' innings. Joba can talk all he wants about taking the bull by the horns, but that isn't going to help him become the 5th starter. Showing a little poise on the mound and the ability to think his way through a lineup the 2nd and 3rd time will.
I still say Hughes is the better option for the 5th spot, but we'll see how this "epic battle" plays out when these boys get into camp in the next few days.