It's beginning to look a lot like the regular season as two-thirds of the Yankees lineup beat the Pirates starting nine, seven of whom played the entire game.
L - Brett Gardner (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
S - Mark Teixeira (1B)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
S - Nick Swisher (RF)
S - Jorge Posada (DH)
L - Chris Dickerson (LF)
R - Eduardo Nuñez (2B)
R - Austin Romine (C)
Pitchers (IP): Manny Bañuelos (3), Mariano Rivera (1), Rafael Soriano (2/3), Boone Logan (2/3), David Robertson (2/3), Joba Chamberlain (1), Mark Prior (1), Luis Ayala (1)
Formidable Opponents: The Pirates' starting lineup save scratched catcher Chris Snyder (back), and back-end starter Kevin Correia.
Big Hits: Chris Dickerson went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI single in his Yankee debut. Alex Rodriguez (1-for-3) connected for a two-out, two-run home run off Correia in the first, his sixth homer of the spring, most of which have come in the last couple of weeks. Nick Swisher went 2-for-3. Austin Krum singled home a run in his only at-bat.
Who Pitched Well: David Robertson struck out the only two men he faced, getting Ronny Cedeño to fly out and striking out Jason Jaramillo looking. Boone Logan faced three lefties and retired two of them, Lyle Overbay (ground ball) and Pedro Alvarez (struck out swinging) before Garrett Jones singled and Logan was pulled. Mark Prior faced the minimum despite a one-out walk thanks to a nifty play by Doug Bernier (see "Oopsies" below), striking out Alvarez and getting Cedeño on an infield pop-up. Luis Ayala also faced the minimum despite a one-out baserunner, erasing that single with a game-ending double play off the bat of Tabata after having previously struck out Jaramillo.
Who Didn't: Rafael Soriano struck out the opposing pitcher, then gave up a triple to Tabata, a sac fly, and a single to Andrew McCutchen, after which he was pulled so that Logan could face a lefty. Manny Bañuelos wasn't particularly sharp. He did strikeout three in three innings, but he also walked three, one of which scored on a double by Jaramillo in the second. He only allowed one other hit, but he also got two outs on the bases, meaning he allowed five baserunners and only got seven outs on pitched balls.
Rotation Battle: is over. Here's the official starting five, in order, matching my speculation from Wednesday night:
Bartolo Colon will pitch out of the bullpen.
Ouchies: Russell Martin has a tight left hamstring, but is scheduled to catch in Monday's game. Chris Dickerson left Saturday's game with cramping in his left hamstring and will skip Sunday's game. Curtis Granderson (oblique) hit soft toss and off a tee and could play in Monday's game. Pedro Feliciano is questionable for Opening Day with continued soreness that was previously described as "upper arm," but is now being described as "near his shoulder."
Oopsies: Austin Romine attempted to rush a throw on a steal attempt by former Yankee prospect Jose Tabata in the first and had the pitch, a high fastball from Bañuelos, clang off his glove and go to the backstop. He immediately made up for the mistake, however, by throwing out Tabata at third base. A similar thing happened in the eighth when Mark Prior bounced a pick-off throw past first baseman Jack Rye only to have a hard ricochet of the wall behind first help second baseman Doug Bernier nail the runner at second. In the fourth, the Yankees turned an infield pop-up on which the infield fly rule was called into a double play when the ball hit the ground and Jorge Posada half-heartedly took off for third base. The replay didn't show Chris Dickerson, who was on first and advanced to second on the play, so I don't know if it was Dickerson trying to advance that forced Posada off second, but knowing how Jorge runs the bases (Steve had a great line once about Posada running the bases like a man trapped between two cupcakes and unsure which to eat first), it feels safe and familiar to let him shoulder the blame, in which case, Dickerson taking second was a great, heads-up play, but also totally irrelevant as the double-play ended the inning.
Other: Despite his poor outing, Rafael Soriano declared himself ready to go and said he wouldn't pitch again this spring, which was news to his manager. Gustavo Molina caught CC Sabathia's three-inning outing in a minor league game (an abbreviated warm-up prior to Opening Day), then came over to the major league came to catch everyone from Mariano Rivera on (which included five members of the Yankees' expected Opening Day bullpen) in preparation for being the major league backup catcher.
Next: The Yankees travel to play the Twins. Bartolo Colon was originally scheduled to start the game, but with the rotation battle over, he will now pitch out of the bullpen on Monday. His replacement has not been named. The game will not be televised.