Candidates for No. 5 job starting to distance themselves

All along, Joe Girardi has said the three candidates for the fifth starter's job would naturally start to put distance between themselves over time. Tuesday afternoon in Port Charlotte, Sergio Mitre seemed to put a lot of distance between himself and the one who shoul dbe the front-runner, Bartolo Colon.

Mitre allowed five runs in three innings to the Orioles on five hits, including home runs by Jake Fox, who has eight this spring, and Luke Scott. He also balked home a run. His spring ERA shot up from 2.25 to 5.73.

"I don’t look at it as a setback,'' Mitre said. "I’m hoping they don’t base everything off one spring start. I don’t think that’s the case, at least towards me. They know I can get people out. They know they can rely on me, I hope.''

Mitre's problems, according to Joe Girardi, began and ended with his sinker. "When it was down, it wasn't a strike,'' Girardi said. "And when it was up . . . ''

. . . it wasn't a sinker. It was more like a sitting duck. Both home runs came off sinkers that didn't, and there were several other hard-hit balls in his brief appearance.

Asked if he assumed he would make the team, Mitre seemed taken aback. "I mean, I hope so,'' he said. "I don’t think there should be any reason why not. If I still have to worry about that then I’m probably not doing something right. I think I've done enough and they’ve seen enough to where they know I can get the job done. That’s one thing that just never even crossed my mind, whether I’m on the team or not.''

Asked the same question, Girardi said, "There are still decisions to be made there.''