The Yankees made the hundred mile trip down to Port Charlotte to take on the defending AL champs today, riding the high from a nine game winning streak. Al Aceves took the mound as CC Sabathia threw in a minor league game back in Tampa (more on that later), giving up a run on two hits and walk in two and two-thirds innings. He also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. Steven Jackson gave up a pair of unearned runs while recording four outs, and Damaso Marte walked a batter in his first spring action with the team. Kei Igawa, who had been pitching like Superman lately, struggled this afternoon, putting eight runners on base (four hits, four walks) in just two and two-thirds innings pitched. He only managed to give up one run however, and struck out four.
The Yanks offense mustered only six hits against a pretty strong sextet of Rays’ arms. Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner both went 1-for-2, although Gardner was caught stealing and Melky was hit by a pitch and threw a runner out at second. Xavier Nady, Nick Swisher, Cody Ransom and Angel Berroa combined for eleven hitless at-bats. Swisher drew a walk and committed a throwing error at first, Nady threw a runner out at second, and Ransom committed a fielding error at second. The most productive Yankee on the day was Robbie Cano, who went 2-for-3 as the DH. Overall it was a pretty forgettable day.
While the team was busy losing 4-0 to the Rays, the most important news of the day came out of the home base in Tampa. CC Sabathia pitched against a team of minor leaguers, giving up one run on seven hits and walk in five innings. He struck out three and threw 51 of 81 pitches for strikes. Jorge Posada caught him, and he threw out three of the four baserunners that attempted to steal second. After the game he said his shoulder feels 100 and is he’confident in his ability to throw. That is ginormous.
Brett Tomko starts against the Phillies in Clearwater tomorrow afternoon while Chien-Ming Wang will throw in a minor league game. The regular season starts two weeks from Monday. Woo hoo.