Phil Hughes broke out a refined cutter and the Yankees built a late rally out of walks, singles, and productive outs to top the Jays, 5-3.
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
S - Nick Swisher (RF)
S - Mark Teixeira (1B)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
S - Jorge Posada (DH)
R - Andruw Jones (LF)
R - Russell Martin (C)
L - Brett Gardner (CF)
Pitchers (IP): Phil Hughes (7), Mariano Rivera (1), Boone Logan (1)
Subs: Brandon Laird (1B), Ronnie Belliard (2B), Ramiro Peña (SS), Eduardo Nuñez (3B), Greg Golson (RF), Melky Mesa (CF), Jordan Parraz (LF), Justin Maxwell (DH), Jorge Vazquez (PH)
Formidable Opponents: Seven of the Jays' regulars.
Big Hits: Doubles by Alex Rodriguez (2-for-3) and Derek Jeter (1-for-3) off Jays starter Jo-Jo Reyes. Jorge Posada walked twice in three trips.
Who Pitched Well: Having tweaked his cutter so that it's closer to a slider, a change reminiscent of the new slutter that Ivan Nova used in his near-perfect outing last week, Phil Hughes struck out seven Blue Jays in as many innings without a walk or a home run. He did give up three runs on eight hits, including four doubles, but scattered over seven innings with such strong results in the strikezone, that's hardly a concern. Mariano Rivera worked a perfect eighth. Boone Logan worked around a two-out single by ex-Yankee Jason Lane, whom I didn't even realize was still active, striking out the side (two of the three being left-handers) in the ninth.
Rotation Battle: See previous post.
Ouchies: Curtis Granderson's MRI showed a rare internal oblique strain, but Granderson said it didn't feel that bad and the Yankees are optimistic that he'll be ready for Opening Day. Even if not, his disabled-list stint could be back dated and he could get away with missing just a few games. Nick Swisher fouled a ball off his foot and came out of the game, but did not have x-rays.
Oopsies: Russell Martin moved a runner to third with a passed ball in the second, but Hughes stranded him. Brett Gardner threw to a phantom first baseman in an attempt to double off a baserunner in the sixth, sending the runner to third. Chad Jennings blamed the error on the similarity of the team's uniforms in this game, theorizing that Gardner simply mistook the baserunner for the first baseman. Gardner did throw out Yunel Escobar trying to stretch a single into a double in the first, however.
Other: More cuts: Greg Golson was optioned to Triple-A and Jorge Vazquez, Jordan Parraz, Jose Gil, and Eric Wordekemper were reassigned to minor league camp. In addition Brandon Laird, Kevin Russo, Melky Mesa, Steve Garrision, and Ryan Pope, all of whom were previously cut but remained in major league camp to serve as late-game subs, will now report to minor league camp.
With Phil Hughes starting the major league contest, A.J. Burnett threw in a minor league game.
Before the game, the Yankees claimed left-hander Jose Ortegano off waivers from the Braves and optioned him to Triple-A. Ortegano is a 23-year-old starter from Venezuela who started 20 games in Triple-A last year. There's nothing exceptional about Ortegano, who has roughly average peripherals and had bad luck on balls in play last year, leading to a 6.20 ERA in Triple-A. That's why the Braves waived him to begin with. He strikes me as organizational fodder, but with the Triple-A rotation already full, perhaps the Yankees see some potential in him as a lefty reliever.
Next: Just the second off-day in the exhibition schedule finds Freddy Garcia pitching in a minor league game. The Yankees host the Astros on Friday night.