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03/19/11 5:40 PM ET

Nunez, Phelps earn Yanks' Minors awards

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have honored infielder Eduardo Nunez and right-hander David Phelps as the organization's Minor League top player and pitcher, respectively, in 2010.

Both players were issued their Kevin Lawn Awards prior to Saturday's contest against the Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Nunez, 23, batted .289 with four homers, 50 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 118 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, earning a spot on the midseason and postseason International League All-Star rosters.

He led all Scranton/Wilkes-Barre batters in hits (134) and stolen bases, ranked second in doubles (25) and recorded the third-highest average among all Yankees farmhands.

Phelps, 24, combined to go 10-2 with a 2.50 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 26 games (25 starts) with Double-A Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010.

He was 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 14 starts at Trenton before being promoted to Triple-A on July 14, leading the Eastern League in strikeouts and ranking second in ERA at the time of his promotion.

Girardi names Burnett Yanks' No. 2 starter

TAMPA, Fla. -- A.J. Burnett came to the Yankees intending to take up residence in CC Sabathia's shadow, stepping up as the No. 2 starter in the rotation.

He'll get that chance again to begin the 2011 season. Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced on Saturday that Burnett will follow Sabathia in the pitching order, with Phil Hughes lining up third.

"That's what we brought A.J. here to do, bottom line," Girardi said. "In 2009, he was very important for us -- playoffs, World Series, you name it. He struggled last year, but we believe he's going to be back."

Burnett had a career-worst 5.26 ERA in 33 starts for New York last season and only pitched once in the postseason, taking a loss against the Rangers in the American League Championship Series.

Entering the third season of a five-year, $82.5 million contract, the right-hander is hoping to pitch more like he did in 2009, when he was 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 33 starts for the eventual World Series champions.

He is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in four spring starts; Hughes has no record and a 4.20 ERA through four starts. Speaking before the decision was announced, Burnett said he would be fine either way.

"It shows how much faith they have in what they brought me here to do," Burnett said. "Either way, just give me the ball."

Though the pitching rotation this spring had Hughes following Sabathia, Girardi said the Yankees' original intentions were to have Burnett in the No. 2 spot.

"It was our plan all along," Girardi said. "We like what he's done in Spring Training."

Joba feels good after bullpen session

TAMPA, Fla. -- Joba Chamberlain threw 31 pitches off a bullpen mound on Saturday as he comes back from a slight oblique strain in his left side.

The Yankees right-hander has not appeared in a game since he felt a tweak during an outing against the Braves on March 11 at George M. Steinbrenner Field, but he used his complete repertoire throwing to Jesus Montero.

"I just threw a no-hitter," Chamberlain said. "It feels good, we're going to continue to stay on top of it. I'd rather have this happen at this time instead of at this time next week."

Chamberlain said that the timing of the injury gives him "no question" that he will be ready for Opening Day.

"I would assume in a couple of days I'll get an inning and go from there," Chamberlain said.

The session included a different type of test for Chamberlain, as one of Montero's return throws sailed high, forcing Chamberlain to leap in a fruitless effort to snare the ball.

"Montero keeps you loose," Chamberlain said. "He'll fire about 10 in a row back at your chest and then to keep you on your toes, he'll fire one at your shins. That's fun.

"He's doing a great job. He's come a long way, and it's been fun to be with him for four years and see the maturation process as a catcher."

Yanks' southpaw relievers near returns

TAMPA, Fla. -- The ailing left-handers in the Yankees' bullpen are moving closer to getting back in action.

Pedro Feliciano tossed 15 pitches off a bullpen mound on Saturday, throwing at what he estimated was 80 percent intensity. Feliciano has been sidelined with tightness in his left triceps since March 9.

"I didn't want to irritate it again -- it feels good," Feliciano said. "I threw just fastballs, and we'll go from there."

Feliciano said he expects to throw another bullpen in the next few days and said there is no doubt he will be ready for Opening Day on March 31.

Boone Logan did not pitch for 13 days due to a "dead arm" before firing a scoreless inning against the Rays on Thursday. Logan then reported feeling back spasms, but is listed on the Yankees' travel list for Sunday's game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.

"I think it was just from not getting into a game," Logan said. "The intensity of the game triggered a little spasm in my shoulder blade.

"I did everything today and hopefully I can get in a game [Sunday] if they'll let me. I feel fine."

Bombers bits

Right-handers Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances have been sent to Minor League camp now that innings have grown scarce. Brackman will begin the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; Betances will open at Double-A Trenton. The move leaves 44 players in camp, 19 of them pitchers. ... Russell Martin was in the Yankees' original lineup Saturday as a catcher but was scratched because he was bouncing around a lot catching A.J. Burnett on Friday. He said he is physically fine and will catch CC Sabathia on Sunday instead. Austin Romine caught Freddy Garcia on Saturday. ... Left-hander Manny Banuelos was available to pitch Saturday but now will follow Bartolo Colon on Monday against the Rays. ... Rotation hopeful Ivan Nova will pitch in a simulated game on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. ... Eduardo Nunez made a start in left field on Saturday. The Yankees see him as an emergency outfielder, similar to Ramiro Pena.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.