Sunday notes: A good omen for A-Rod?
There was a funny moment in the clubhouse after — well, during — the Yankees’ 7-4 Grapefruit League win over the Phillies, their third straight spring win and second against big league competition. Alex Rodriguez was talking about his 3-for-3 game, including a home run off Roy Halladay on the first pitch he saw, and was asked if he believed in good omens.
“Almonds?” Rodriguez replied. Not exactly, he was told.
Rodriguez then asked the questioner if he was talking about karma or foreshadowing. That’s close enough, actually.
“It doesn’t matter what we say here in February or March,” Rodriguez said. “I know we all have to write something and we have to play the games, but you’ve got to go out and just take it one game at a time. I know this. I know that if I feel healthy, I’m going to do some good things to help this team win.”
What went right: Aside from A-Rod’s homer, single, RBI double game — all of them hit well — Francisco Cervelli worked a bases-loaded walk in the third inning and the Yankees had a three-run seventh inning in which Jose Gil, J.R. Murphy and Jayson Nix picked up RBI singles. Don’t look now, but Zoilo Almonte had another hit; unofficially, he’s 4-for-4 with six RBIs including the game against the University of South Florida.
Freddy Garcia settled in after serving up a long two-run homer to Hunter Pence in the first inning. D.J. Mitchell pitched two scoreless innings around a pair of hits, and Clay Rapada fired a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Yankees relievers combined for seven innings of two-run, five-hit ball, with only Cory Wade and Kevin Whelan touched for runs.
What went wrong: It wasn’t the Yankees’ problem, but it was a rough day for Phillies second baseman Mike Martinez, who committed two errors. Otherwise, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira went hitless in three at-bats apiece. The wind (20 MPH out to right at first pitch) played havoc with balls all day long, so any defensive misplays came with a built-in excuse.
What they said: “Look, last year I stood here and had a really good spring, felt really good and the results during the year weren’t what we all wanted. Definitely one day a time. A good start; hopefully the first of many more days to come.” – Rodriguez.
What’s next: The Yankees will travel back across the Courtney Campbell Causeway on Monday afternoon to play their third consecutive Grapefruit League game against the Phillies, this one at Bright House Field. Right-hander Michael Pineda makes his Yankees debut after being acquired from the Mariners in a four-player trade in January. David Robertson is among the Yankees’ relievers on the trip, which will include the club’s starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. Right-hander Joe Blanton starts for Philadelphia.