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Yankees 4, Phillies 1: Mitchell, Bird shine as Yankees down Phils in first split-squad game

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Bryan Mitchell makes his first case for a spot in the big league rotation

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of Yankees baseball today, folks!  The Yankees play a split-squad doubleheader today, and with the need to fill out two rosters, the Yankees called up a lot of minor leaguers, including Eric Jagielo and Mark Montgomery.  But the biggest draw for the first game of the doubleheader, away against the Phillies, was clearly Bryan Mitchell.

Mitchell has long displayed good stuff, but he's never quite been able to put it together into a dominant minor league season.  He did manage to finally see some big league action last year, and all signs point to 2015 being the year he should get a chance, what with all the injury concerns (and the fact that Chris Capuano is all sorts of meh) filling the rotation.  Well, in his first start of the spring, Mitchell looked like everything the Yankees are hoping for.  In two innings of work, Mitchell surrendered just one hit and struck out two.  He thoroughly flummoxed opposing hitters, and doing it while dueling Cole Hamels doesn't hurt either.

While the Yankees also failed to get to Hamels, they did make some noise in the fourth against Mike Nesseth.  After Mark Teixeira led off the inning with a single, PSA favorite Greg Bird doubled to deep right center, scoring Kyle Roller (who pinch-ran for Tex). Bird came in to score on a one-out single from Ramon Flores, making it 2-0 Yankees. But they weren't done, as Didi Gregorius smoked a two-out double to give the Yankees a three-run lead.

The Yankees added a fourth run in the top of the sixth when Nick Noonan doubled, scoring Slade Heathcott.  The Phillies lone run came against Mark Montgomery, who gave up a homer to journeyman outfielder Xavier Paul.  Montgomery escaped the rest of the inning unscathed, although he did give up another hit, a single.  Montgomery's two hits surrendered actually constituted half of the Phillies' four hits - Yankee pitching was stellar today, as Mitchell, Matt Tracy, and Branden Pinder all threw two innings of shutout ball, and Jaron Long and Nick Goody each contributed a scoreless inning.  All in all, it was a good day for the Yankees - there were Didi defensive highlights, a Greg Bird sighting, and some really promising work from Bryan Mitchell.  Maybe there's hope for a Capuano alternative after all.

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