ORIOLES 6, YANKEES 2
Grapefruit League home run leader Jake Fox connected for his ninth round-tripper of the spring and Luke Scott added a two-run blast to spark a four-run third inning off Sergio Mitre as Baltimore powered past New York on Tuesday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL.
Rookie left-hander Zach Britton (2-0) gave up only one run on six hits and a walk over five-plus innings of work to get credit for the victory. Mitre (1-1) was hammered for five runs on five hits and a walk over three innings and was the losing pitcher.
The Yankees’ spring record dropped to 9-14-3. The Orioles are 10-11-1.
- The Yankees scored their only run in the third inning when Melky Mesa and Nick Swisher singled with one out. A Matt Wieters passed ball advanced Mesa to third and he scored on a Mark Teixeira fielder’s choice grounder.
- Swisher had two of the Yankees’ seven hits in the game and he raised his spring average to .255. It appears his early struggles with a shoulder injury are over and he is ready for the regular season.
- Mark Prior, Romulo Sanchez and Luis Ayala combined to pitch four scoreless innings of relief. Prior, who is nowhere near the pitcher he was, has a 1.35 ERA on the spring. Ayala, who shows a lot of promise, has an 0.93 ERA.
- Joba Chamberlain pitched for the first time since March 11 and gave up a solo home run to J.J. Hardy. But he proved he was not affected by the strained left oblique that shelved him.
- Mitre essentially made it easy on the Yankees by taking himself out of the competition for a starting rotation spot — not that he had much of a chance anyway. He was simply ineffective. In 64 pitches, Mitre gave up three singles, two home runs, walked a batter and balked in a run.
- The Yankees were able to get on base against Britton but they kept letting him off the hook by making out after out with runners in scoring position. Eduardo Nunez and Ronnie Belliard both failed twice to get a hit with two runners on. Teixeira and Andruw Jones did the same thing in the fifth. The Yankees were 1-for-11 with RISP overall.
- The bottom three of the batting order, Nunez, Belliard and Brandon Laird were a combined 0-for-9 in the game.
Curtis Granderson was batting first and playing centerfield in the Yankees’ original starting lineup but had to be scratched when he strained a right oblique muscle during batting practice. His status for Opening Day is now in doubt. Granderson said he believed he could have played if it were a regular season game but the Yankees are not commenting until they get the results of an MRI scheduled for Wednesday. Granderson joins Mitre, Chamberlain and outfielder Greg Golson who have had to deal with spring oblique issues. . . . Mitre said he hopes a decision on his status is not made based on what he did Tuesday. Mitre was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five spring outings (two starts) before his start on Tuesday. But after the Orioles were through with him, his ERA rose to 5.73. There is concern now Mitre even might lose his role as a long reliever and spot starter. . . . Chamberlain’s fastball was clocked as high as 95 miles per hour on the radar gun. . . . General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees have no interest in free-agent left-hander Oliver Perez, who was released by the Mets.
The Yankees return to George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday to host the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees will send to the hill right-hander Phil Hughes. The Blue Jays plan to start Jo-Jo Reyes, who is competing for the fifth spot in the team’s rotation.
Game-time will be 7:05 EDT and the game will be telecast live nationally by MLB Network.