A-Rod homers in first at-bat; Yankees lose to Phillies 13-4


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer on the second pitch of his 2016 spring training debut Thursday as the New York Yankees lost 13-4 to a Philadelphia Phillies’ split squad.

Carlos Beltran had a one-out single in the first, and A-Rod homered on a 1-0 pitch from Adam Morgan.

“It was surprising,” Rodriguez said. “It’s fun. That was the last thing (I expected). Actually, I hadn’t taken a swing on live pitching. …That was the first one.”

Rodriguez took a called third strike in the fourth and drew a fifth-inning walk from Mark Appel. Rodriguez hit .250 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs last season, slumping during the final weeks of the season. He is 13 home runs shy of 700.

“I don’t have any distractions,” said Rodriguez, who came to spring training last year after sitting out the previous season while serving a drug-related suspension. “I’m clear-headed. I don’t think I can compared last spring to any spring in my career. There were so many question marks.”

Maikel Franco had a solo homer for the Phillies. He flied out to the left-field warning track in the first despite breaking his bat and having the barrel ending up in front of the Philadelphia dugout.

Appel, a former first-overall pick acquired from Houston, gave up one run, one hit and walked four in two innings.


Phillies: Morgan allowed two runs and two hits in two innings. The left-hander spilt time last season between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phillies, where he went 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts.

Yankees: Ivan Nova gave up one run and two hits in two innings.


Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Masahiro Tanaka, who had a procedure in October to remove a bone spur on his throwing elbow, will make his first start in Sunday’s road game against Philadelphia.

Michael Pineda is scheduled to pitch Monday, with CC Sabathia taking the hill Tuesday


Sabathia, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances all pitched simulated games, while closer Aroldis Chapman threw batting practice on an adjacent field at the Steinbrenner Field complex.

Sabathia made 35 pitches over two innings, while Miller and Betances threw 18-pitches apiece over an inning.

Chapman tossed 25 pitches in his second BP session.


Phillies: OF Tyler Goeddel went 2 for 4 after being unavailable Wednesday due to illness.

Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (mild groin tightness) had a 38-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled to pitch Thursday.


CF Jacoby Ellsbury said he will play for the time in the Yankees’ fourth game Saturday against Boston. Ellsbury added that he is physically fine and is just getting in a few more days of work.


Phillies: RHP Jeremy Hellickson will face Atlanta RHP Lucas Sims in Friday’s home game.

Yankees: C Brian McCann, and INFs Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius are on the travel roster for Friday’s road game against Detroit. RHP Bryan Mitchell will face the Tigers’ Justin Verlander.

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