TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Yankees fifth starter candidate Michael Pineda allowed three runs and six hits over six innings Sunday in New York’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dioner Navarro had an RBI single in the second, which ended Pineda’s scoreless streak at 10 innings. The right-hander avoided further damage by getting an inning-ending double play from Ryan Goins with the bases loaded.
Toronto scored twice in the fifth, on Pineda’s throwing error after fielding a bunt and a wild pitch.
Considered the front runner, Pineda is competing with David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno for the final rotation spot behind opening day starter CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova. Manager Joe Girardi is expected to announce the choice Tuesday.
Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle gave up one run and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Blue Jays: Buehrle made the start on his 35th birthday.
”I just dropped the family off at the airport,” Buehrle said. ”I’m going to go home and clean up the house.”
The left-hander took a shutout into the sixth before giving up a run on Derek Jeter’s double-play grounder. Buehrle will make his final spring training start in the first of two exhibition games in Montreal on Friday night against the New York Mets.
Yankees: Pineda missed the past two years following right shoulder surgery.
”I want to make it,” Pineda said. ”I want to stay with the team.”
Nova is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game Monday, an off day for the Yankees.
Blue Jays: Infielder Jose Reyes, who left after three innings of Saturday’s game due to left hamstring tightness, didn’t play, and is day to day.
”He feels a little better,” manager John Gibbons said. ”We still don’t think it’s a big deal.”
Yankees: Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, scratched March 16 due to right calf tightness, took batting practice and ran the bases. He could return Tuesday in a minor league game.
”Just building up,” Ellsbury said. ”Want to make sure it’s 100 percent.”
The Yankees captain’s offensive funk continued, going hitless in three at-bats. Jeter is 5 for 44 in 15 games. Girardi said he is not worried about Jeter’s bat.
Three of the 23 major leaguers to pitch a perfect game were at Steinbrenner Field.
Buehrle, New York spring training instructor David Wells and Yankees broadcaster David Cone.
Dellin Betances is still in the mix for the Yankees bullpen and made quite an impression Sunday by striking out Jose Bautista and getting a flyball from Edwin Encarnacion with bases loaded to end seventh.