BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) Esmil Rogers, trying to cement a spot on the New York Yankees’ pitching staff, tossed two scoreless innings Thursday in a 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Rogers gave up just a double by Korean rookie Jung Ho Kang and also struck out one. If he makes the team, Rogers could be used as a long reliever and spot starter.
First baseman Garrett Jones had two hits, including an RBI double in the fifth inning. Tyler Austin put the Yankees ahead with a towering solo home run in the eighth inning.
Left-hander Francisco Liriano and right-hander Charlie Morton each tossed two scoreless innings for the Pirates.
Liriano, the Pirates’ likely opening-day starter, gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two. Morton, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, allowed two hits, walked two and struck out one.
Alex Rodriguez did not make the trip with the Yankees.
Yankees: When Mariano Rivera stopped by the clubhouse recently, Rogers asked the all-time saves leader for pitching advice. ”I asked him what was his routine, how did he prepare mentally and physically,” Rogers said. ”He told me how I need to pound the zone and keep my front shoulder in line.” Rogers said his conversation with Rivera was mostly one-sided. ”I tried just to listen,” he said. ”It’s not good (to talk) when people like him are trying to explain something. I tried to catch everything he was saying.”
Pirates: Last year, Liriano struggled with a sore groin during spring training, then went on the disabled list during the season with a strained oblique. ”I’m trying to do the right things to stay healthy all year,” Liriano said. ”So far, so good. I’m doing the same things I did before. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’re going to get hurt. I’m sticking to my routine, not trying to do too much. Hopefully, things will go well.”
Pirates: 3B Josh Harrison was not in the lineup Thursday, but said his left ankle felt better. ”I left the game (Wednesday) just as a precaution,” he said. Harrison rolled his ankle when he strayed too far off second base on a fly ball and was tagged out trying to get back to the bag. … Corey Hart (cut on left foot) took grounders and said he expects to appear in a game in the next few days. Hart needed three stitches after he sliced his foot Sunday when he stepped on a loose hot tub filter.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli, who was traded by New York in November, caught up with his former Yankees teammates during batting practice. ”It’s not weird anymore,” said Cervelli, who was with New York from 2008-14. ”I’m glad to see them because they’re just great people. They were like my family, especially the manager (Joe Girardi). I’m glad to see them, but this is my house now.”
Yankees: Carlos Beltran is expected to make his spring debut Friday night in a split-squad game against the Pirates. Over the winter, Beltran had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips. Elbow pain prevented Beltran from playing in the final 10 games last season.
Pirates: Friday, LHP Jeff Locke will pitch the first two innings against the Yankees. Locke, an All-Star in 2013, is trying to win the No. 5 spot in the rotation. If RHP Vance Worley gets the job, Locke might open the season in the bullpen.