A Yankee lineup with just two intended regulars couldn't dig out of an early hole dug by Sergio Mitre and fell to the Orioles, 6-2.
R - Melky Mesa (CF)
S - Nick Swisher (DH)
S - Mark Teixeira (1B)
R - Andruw Jones (RF)
R - Jesus Montero (C)
R - Greg Golson (LF)
R - Eduardo Nuñez (SS)
R - Ronnie Belliard (2B)
R - Brandon Laird (3B)
Pitchers (IP): Sergio Mitre (3), Joba Chamberlain (1), Mark Prior (1), Romulo Sanchez (2), Luis Ayala (1)
Subs: Jose Gil (1B), Ramiro Peña (2B), Doug Bernier (SS), Kevin Russo (3B), Gustavo Molina (C), Jordan Parraz (RF), Justin Maxwell (LF), Austin Romine (DH), Jorge Vazquez (PH)
Formidable Opponents: The Orioles' starting nine with spring home run leader Jake Fox in for Derrek Lee, five innings of pitching prospect Zach Britton, and one of Mike Gonzalez.
Big Hits: Nick Swisher doubled and singled in three trips. Jesus Montero walked and singled in three trips. No other Yankee had an extra-base hit or reached base twice. Kevin Russo delivered a two-out RBI single in the eighth.
Who Pitched Well: Mark Prior worked a perfect fifth inning striking out Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters. Luis Ayala worked a perfect eighth against Wieters, Derrek Lee, and Luke Scott, though all of them hit fly balls. Neither pitcher will make the team, but both have been much better than I, and many others, expected this spring and have effectively put themselves on the short list for in-season replacements. Joba Chamberlain gave up a wind-blown solo homer to J.J. Hardy in the fourth, but got his other three batters on a pair of strikeouts (of Mark Reynolds and Brian Roberts), and a groundout. Romulo Sanchez retired the first five men he faced, Scott and Jake Fox by strikeout, but ran into trouble with his last two batters, needing an out at the plate (via a strong throw from right fielder Jordan Parraz) to finish his two frames.
Who Didn't: After allowing a pair of singles to start his afternoon, one of which came around to score, Sergio Mitre retired six straight Orioles, but then ran into big trouble in the third, starting with Jake Fox's major league leading eighth home run of the spring. After striking out Brian Roberts, Mitre walked Nick Markakis, who then moved to third on a Matt Wieters single and scored on a balk. Mitre got Vlad Guerrero to groundout for the second out, but Luke Scott followed with a two-out, two-run homer. The final tally: five runs in three innings.
Rotation Battle: Sergio Mitre eliminated himself with that outing. His competitors are throwing six innings, Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon recently dominating over that length. Mitre has simply fallen too far behind. The question for him now is if he even makes the roster, or if one of Colon or Freddy Garcia, both of whom have said they'd accept a job in the bullpen as long as they make the team, will take the long-man job that seemed to be Mitre's to lose coming into camp. It's now a three-man race for two rotation spots, and with the Yankees needing to cut just one of the four men mentioned above, Mitre is starting to look like the odd man out.
Ouchies: Curtis Granderson was a late scratch after feeling something in his right oblique on his last swing in batting practice. He told Andruw Jones it was minor, and the Yankees aren't running any tests on him, but the actual severity remains to be determined.
Oopsies: In his ugly third inning of work, Sergio Mitre balked in a run.
Other: Rafael Soriano once again ducked an AL East opponent by pitching in a minor league game instead.
Next: The Yankees host the Blue Jays for a 7:05 game that will be aired on the MLB Network.