Yankees 7, Phillies 4
Walking by Alex Rodriguez’s locker, Reggie Jackson saw a crowd
”Ask him if he’s going to hit 1.000,” Mr. October said.
A-Rod got his spring training season off to a perfect start.
Rodriguez homered on the first pitch he saw – from Roy Halladay,
no less – and added an RBI double and single Sunday that led the
New York Yankees over the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4.
”I’m just lucky that it was the first inning, that he’s not
quite warmed up yet,” Rodriguez said. ”He’s probably going to be
mad next time I face him. He’s the greatest pitcher in our
Rodriguez, whose power numbers dropped during an injury filled
season in 2011, hit an opposite-field solo homer to right in the
first inning. He did not play Saturday in the Yankees’ exhibition
”It’s better than striking out,” Rodriguez said. ”It’s good
to feel good and get off to a good start. Staying healthy is the
most important thing, and I’m making an effort towards that.”
The first at-bat homer after a long break is nothing new for
Rodriguez, who hit a three-run drive on May 8, 2009, on the first
pitch he saw from Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie. Rodriguez had been
sidelined up until to that point after hip surgery.
”One of my big parts of my job this year is keeping him healthy
and fresh,” Yankees manger Joe Girardi said. ”Three really good
swings. Seeing him go to right field the first swing and then pull
two balls just tells me that he feels explosive.”
Rodriguez had just 16 homers and 62 RBIs in 99 games last
season, a year in which the slugger had right knee surgery, a
sprained left thumb and sore left shoulder.
”It was hit good,” Halladay said. ”It was one of those
pitches (a sinker) I was trying to get in and left it over.
Probably as center-cut as you can get.”
Halladay allowed one run, two hits and struck out three in two
innings. The two-time Cy Young Award winner, coming off a 19-6
season, struck out two to work out of a two-on, no-outs jam in the
”I was really happy with location. I was happy with the way I
felt,” Halladay said. ”But just getting the regular arm slot I
think is what I’m really trying to lock in right now. About 80
percent of the time it was good. So, I’ve got a little ways to
Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer for Philadelphia. He also
connected Saturday against the Yankees.
Philadelphia is without first baseman Ryan Howard, being treated
for an infection around his surgically repaired Achilles tendon.
Howard will be in a walking boot for the next seven to 10 days, and
there is no timetable for when he will resume an on-field
Freddy Garcia, bidding to make the Yankees’ rotation, gave up
two runs and four hits in two innings.
”You’ve got to fight for a spot,” Garcia said. ”I’ve got to
do my job and go from there.”
The Yankees’ spring training home opener, which included pregame
introductions of former stars like Jackson, Goose Gossage and Lou
Piniella, was played with a gusty wind that partially ripped the
American flag flying behind the center-field fence.
The crosswind from left-field corner toward right at a sustained
17 mph didn’t impact Pence in the first when he connected on a
two-run homer into the breeze.
Notes: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is scheduled to throw
batting practice for the first time Monday and could pitch in a
game next weekend. The 42-year-old, who will throw around eight
innings during spring training games, said his preparation process
is ”right on track.” … Phillies RHP Jose Contreras (elbow
surgery) is throwing batting practice. … New York reliever Joba
Chamberlain (elbow ligament replacement surgery) is set to add
sliders to his bullpen sessions in a week. … Joan Steinbrenner,
the wife of former owner George Steinbrenner, was among the family
members at the game. George Steinbrenner died in July 2010 at the
age of 80.