The Yankees plated five of their seven base runners to support some strong pitching and pick up the win.
L – Johnny Damon (CF)
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Bobby Abreu (RF)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L – Jason Giambi (DH)
L – Hideki Matsui (LF)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
L – Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)
That’ll be the lineup against right-handed starters when the season opens.
Pitchers: Kei Igawa, Mike Myers, Colter Bean, Brian Bruney, Kyle Farnsworth, Mariano Rivera
Opposition: The Phillies’ starting nine.
Big Hits: A mammoth three-run homer by Alex Rodriguez (1 for 4) with one out in the first inning. A double by Robinson Cano (1 for 3) in the fifth which was followed by a two-RBI double by Doug Mientkiewicz (1 for 3) (Posada had walked to start the inning). Those were actually the only Yankee hits. The Yanks scored five runs on three hits, three walks and a Jimmy Rollins error.
Who Pitched Well?: Kei Igawa gave up a run on two hits and a walk in the third inning, but allowed just two other baserunners (a Wes Helms double and a walk in the fourth), striking out four in five innings of work. He threw 87 pitches. Igawa has looked better in each start this spring, has a 2.65 spring ERA, and could be the Opening Day starter. That said, the Yankees seem more inclined to hide Igawa from the spotlight for now, despite his big-game reputation in Japan. Expect him to make one more spring start on Saturday then make his regular season debut a week from Friday against the Orioles following Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina and, hopefully, Andy Pettitte in the rotation. Brian Bruney struck out the side looking in the seventh. Colter Bean came on in relief of Mike Myers with a man on third and one out, hit two batters to load the bases, but stranded all three runners. Kyle Farnsworth pitched around a walk and a hit that should have been caught by Doug Mientkiewicz for a scoreless eighth. Mariano Rivera pitched around a flared single to shallow left that tipped off the outstretched glove of shortstop Chris Basak for a scoreless ninth. And, yes, he did throw the changeup.
Who Didn’t?: Mike Myers came in to face superstar lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Howard is slumping badly and struck out, but Utley greeted Myers with a triple.
Oopsies: Doug Mientkiewicz whiffed on a Chase Utley liner that skipped right in front of him in the eighth.
Ouchies: Pettitte threw 25 pitches in the bullpen before the game and is scheduled to throw again on Wednesday. Pettitte did not throw full speed, but said that he usually doesn’t throw at game speed in his bullpen sessions and that the session went “as good as I could expect.” Jeff Karstens’s tests (including an MRI, a CT scan, and X-rays) came back negative, with doctors suggesting that his stiffness is in his triceps, not his elbow. That’s good news, though it doesn’t cure the stiffness which could still rob Karstens of the roster spot that he appeared to have won this spring. Chien-Ming Wang will have a catch again today.
Battles: Josh Phelps didn’t come to the plate. Ben Davis made out in his only trip. Brian Bruney got the upper hand on Colter Bean in back-to-back innings, though neither allowed a hit or a run. Bean plunked two batters then escaped the bases-loaded jam he helped create. Bruney struck out all three men he faced, looking.
Notes: Ron Villone tossed a scoreless frame against the Phillies’ A-ball squad yesterday afternoon. Ex-Yank Matt Smith tore through the heart of the Yankee order retiring Abreu, Rodriguez, Giambi, and Matsui in order, striking out Rodriguez and Matsui. Smith was a small price to pay for Abreu, but I still dig the cut of that kids jib.