TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Alex Rodriguez hit his third homer and raised his batting average to .306, new shortstop Didi Gregorius gave New York a scare and the Yankees lost 10-2 to the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.
Rodriguez hit a long first-pitch leadoff shot in the seventh off Brian Matusz.
”That one felt good,” Rodriguez said. ”I was excited about that one.”
Rodriguez downplayed his 11 hits in 36 at-bats over 15 games this spring.
”Numbers mean nothing,” Rodriguez said. ”You definitely want to pass the eye test. I like the way my body’s reacting. Overall I’ve been feeling better each day.”
Earlier, A-Rod worked out at first base for 10 minutes on a back field with infield coach Joe Espada in final preparation for his first start there Sunday against Houston.
”Another first,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, who will turn 40 in July and returning from a one-year drug suspension, is competing for the majority of his at-bats at DH. He could get limited time at third and first.
Gregorius left with a sprained left wrist after the fourth, two innings after landing awkwardly on it while diving on a grounder. X-rays were negative.
”I was worried but now everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about,” Gregorius said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Gregorius won’t play until at least Wednesday.
Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run homer off Scott Baker during Baltimore’s five-run second inning.
Orioles: Prospect Tyler Wilson allowed one hit and struck out two over four scoreless innings. ”Warming up in the bullpen and they’re announcing the lineup and it’s one multiyear All-Star after another, it was pretty cool, but as soon as you pick the ball up on the mound in the game, it’s time to get to business and simplify everything and control what I can as opposed to worrying about who was in the box,” said Wilson, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
Yankees: Baker, bidding for a bullpen spot, gave up five runs and five hits over two innings.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (left shoulder) will have an MRI on Monday. Hardy was injured Friday in a collision with 2B Jonathan Schoop. ”I don’t think I’m going to do much” Hardy said at the Orioles complex. ”We’ll probably just treat it as much as we can and go from there and see what the next step is.” Hardy had a torn labrum in his left shoulder in 2004. … OF David Lough (back spasms) and C J.P. Arencibia (flexor mass strain) are both expected to play Sunday.
Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) took on-field batting practice for the first time in two weeks and expects to be ready for opening day.
BACK TO THE MINORS
Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (knee surgery) allowed four earned runs, five hits – including two homers – and had seven strikeouts in five innings of a minor league game. Sabathia is 0-2 with a 11.57 ERA in two big league spring training games. … RHP Bryan Mitchell was OK after a catcher’s throw toward second base in a minor league game hit his lower back on the belt.
Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez will start on Sunday against Minnesota RHP Ricky Nolasco in a split squad game while RHP Ubaldo Jimenez will be opposed by Toronto LHP Mark Buerhle in the other.
Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi will pitch Sunday against Houston RHP Scott Feldman.