If this game counted it would have been filled with coulda, woulda, shouldas and if-onlys given the various ways in which the Yankees kicked it away only to fall just one run short in the end. Fortunately, it's spring training, when the final score is the least important part of a game.
L - Brett Gardner (LF)
R - Russell Martin (C)
L - Curtis Granderson (CF)
S - Nick Swisher (RF)
S - Jorge Posada (DH)
L - Eric Chavez (1B)
R - Eduardo Nuñez (2B)
R - Ronnie Belliard (3B)
S - Ramiro Peña (SS)
Pitchers (IP): A.J. Burnett (4), Sergio Mitre (3), Andrew Brackman (1)
Subs: Jorge Vazquez (1B), Kevin Russo (2B), Doug Bernier (SS), Brandon Laird (3B), Gustavo Molina (C), Jordan Parraz (RF), Justin Maxwell (CF), Andruw Jones (LF), Jose Gil (DH), Melky Mesa (PR)
Formidable Opponents: Five innings of Brandon Morrow and four of the Jays' regulars.
Big Hits: A double by Brett Gardner (1-for-1, BB) of Morrow was the Yankees' only extra-base hit of the game. Curtis Granderson went 2-for-2 with a walk. Russell Martin (1-for-2) and Jorge Vazquez (1-for-1) both singled and walked. Brandon Laird had a two-out RBI single in the eighth in his only plate appearance. Two batters later, Kevin Russo (0-for-1) walked to drive in another run.
Pitching Performances: Forget trying to categorize these as good or bad (save Andrew Brackman's perfect eighth inning). A.J. Burnett struck out five in four innings against no walks and was victimized by a couple of Russell Martin misplays in a two-run first inning and then again for a run in the third (two of those three tallies were unearned). Then again, he gave up three singles in that two-run first and a no-doubter homer to former personal catcher Jose Molina in the second, hit a batter, bounced one of those third strikes past Martin, did nothing to inhibit the Jays' running game, and threw seemingly half of his pitches in the dirt (most of them sharp-breaking curves, like that wild strike three, but still . . .). Such is A.J. Sergio Mitre had a similarly confounding outing. He worked around a two-out hit-by-pitch in the fifth and faced the minimum in the seventh thanks to an inning-ending double play that erased a leadoff single. He struck out two, including Jose Bautista, against no walks in his three frames, got all of his outs via grounder, strike out, or infield pop-up, and allowed just two other hits. However, those other two hits were a Travis Snider double and a two-run home run by Mike McCoy, who has never had more than six taters in any of his nine professional seasons. I guess real news is that Mitre's oblique no longer seems to be an issue.
Rotation Battle: Sergio Mitre's oblique has clearly set him back as Colon and Nova each threw six innings this week (Colon in a simulated game). He'll need a very impressive outing in his next turn to have any hope of making the rotation. Still, it's important to remember that three of the four remaining contestants (Freddy Garcia being the other) will make the 25-man roster, so the odds are in everyone's favor, in a way, and the worst outing by any of the four belongs to Garcia in his last turn.
Ouchies: Brett Gardner fouled a ball of his shin on Thursday night and his calf tightened up on him on Friday, preventing him from running at full speed and leading to his early removal from the game. The Yankees aren't concerned about it being a long term issue. Pedro Feliciano is reporting soreness in his upper left arm. He and Joba Chamberlain (oblique) are both scheduled to throw bullpens on Saturday, after which we'll know more about each. Boone Logan, who returned from a balky elbow with a solid outing on Thursday night, turned up with back spasms on Friday and will again be out of action for several days.
Oopsies: This wasn't a pretty game for the Yankees and Russell Martin in particular. The Yankees gave the Jays two extra bases in the first inning via an A.J. Burnett wild pitch that should have been scored a passed ball (Martin tried to frame a fastball and it ticked off his glove and sailed to the backstop) and a wild throw by Martin on a steal attempt at second base. Both runners came around to score. In the third, slow-footed Adam Lind scored from second base on a strikeout when the third strike, a Burnett curve in the dirt, got by Martin and he uncorked another wild throw in a failed attempt to get the runner at first, allowing the batter to reach second and Lind to come all the way around to score. Eduardo Nuñez muffed a ball in the fourth, but the batter tried to take second on the play and was thrown out, instantly erasing the mistake. Burnett and Sergio Mitre each hit a batter, though neither scored. The biggest gaffe, however, was Melky Mesa getting picked off second base while representing the tying run with no outs in the ninth.
Next: The Yanks and Jays meet again, this time at the Boss with Freddy Garcia taking the hill for the Yankees. YES will have the game live at 1:05. MLB Network will run it on tape delay at 9 pm.