Joe Girardi was quoted on Newsday.com last night as calling the competition for the starting job in center field as too close right now.

Manager Joe Girardi said he’s pleased with the play of candidates Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera and expects the evaluating process to continue right up to the end of the Florida portion of spring training – if not beyond.

“They’ve both played at a very high level,” Girardi said last night before the Yankees beat Toronto, 7-4. “I’m of the belief that we can carry both and get production out of both.”

Gardner started the exhibition season as a very hot hitter, and entering last night, he was batting .382 with three home runs and six RBIs. Cabrera, who started in centerfield against the Jays, began the evening at .242-0-5. He had an RBI single in the third inning.

For me, I’m pleased with both. Cabrera hasn’t regressed much, but he isn’t showing enough hitting to make me fully satisfied. Gardner, on the other hand, is wow-ing everyone, but it’s only spring training against minor league pitching. When it comes to actual major league pitching, I want to see who hits better and both guys should play, platooning outfield. We need Gardner’s speed, but Cabrera’s rocket arm.

On April 6, Trevor and I will see from the upper level seats at Camden Yards who gets the nod. Whichever player it is, we’ll just be glad to see the new-version Yankees in action.