The New York Yankees fell to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 6-1 on Thursday night, as an ugly defense produced more errors than the offense produced hits to make for one of the Yankees’ worst efforts of the spring.
David Phelps has breezed through spring training thus far, and looked good early in his next-to-last spring start. However, it was his throwing error on a second inning pickoff attempt that put him in trouble for the first time. Phelps was able to work out of the second inning jam, but was not so lucky two innings later, when he allowed five straight baserunners, including a three-run triple to Drew Butera. Two batters after Butera, the Yankees’ defensive struggles struck again, as Francisco Cervelli missed a throw from Brett Gardner that allowed a Twins baserunner to move to third base and a run to score. The Yankees finally removed Phelps one batter later, and Juan Cedeno let up just one additional run as he worked to get out of the inning.
There was a bright side for the New York Yankees pitching staff. Veteran closer Mariano Rivera, who is slated to retire after the 2013 season, pitched a scoreless fifth inning in relief. After surrendering a leadoff single, Rivera bounced back to strike out three straight hitters, throwing twenty pitches in the outing.
While the Yankees defense turned in a dreadful effort, the team’s offense was not much better. With a line-up on the field that legitimately could be the team’s starting lineup against a right-handed pitcher if Derek Jeter begins the season on the disabled list, the Yankees were able to muster just one hit off Twins starter Liam Hendriks and reliever Cole De Vries, who split eight innings of work. That hit came from the bat of Robinson Cano, who singled in the fourth inning in his first game back from the World Baseball Classic.
The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins square off again tomorrow at 1:05 PM at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, where Ivan Nova will face Vance Worley. Some of the major leaguers making the trip include Cano, Travis Hafner, and Chris Stewart.
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