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Spring training Game 1: Yankees at Braves

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Eduardo Nunez SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Juan Rivera DH
Matt Diaz LF
Francisco Cervelli C
Melky Mesa CF
Zoilo Almonte RF
Corban Joseph 3B

RHP David Phelps (4-4, 3.34 in 2012)
Phelps vs. Braves [2]

Andrelton Simmons SS
Reed Johnson LF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Dan Uggla 2B
Evan Gattis DH
Chris Johnson 3B
Todd Cunningham RF
Christian Bethancourt C
Jordan Schafer CF

LHP Paul Maholm (13-11, 3.67 in 2012
Maholm vs. Yankees [3]

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., not televised

WEATHER: Maybe it’s because we’re at Disney, but the sun always seems unnecessarily bright here. A few clouds in the sky, but ultimately a nice day.

UMPIRES: HP Greg Gibson, 1B Lance Barksdale, 3B Jeff Nelson

EARLY START: Because of the World Baseball Classic, the Yankees are opening their spring schedule nine days earlier than last year. According to the team, it’s their earliest spring opener in at least 65 years.

GOOD MATCHUP: The Braves are doing the Yankees a bit of a favor by starting Paul Maholm today. The Yankees are trying to choose a right-handed platoon outfielder, and Maholm presents an early opportunity for Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera (and maybe Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte depending on how long Maholm stays in the game) to get an at-bat against a lefty.

FAMILIAR FACE (SORT OF): He’s not in the Braves lineup, but former Yankees utility infielder Ramiro Pena is in Braves camp. Can’t really say he’s a familiar face, though, because Pena is currently sporting significant facial hair; whatever it’s called when a guy has half a goatee with hair all around his chin. Doesn’t even look like the same guy. Like an evil version of Pena.

JETER ON THE FIELD: Back in Tampa, Derek Jeter ran on the field today. [4]

WHAT TO WATCH: Yankees starter David Phelps is trying to make a run at a rotation spot and gets the first start of the spring. … Francisco Cervelli is trying to win the starting catcher job. So is Austin Romine. Both will play today. … Diaz and Rivera get their first at-bats in the competition for the Yankees reserve outfielder. … Two left-handed infielders, Corban Joseph and Dan Johnson, will split time at third base today. Could be interesting options if they play well this spring.

UPDATE, 1:07 p.m.: First pitch, Nunez took a called strike. Time to cut him.

UPDATE, 1:08 p.m.: Nunez grounds to short. Nice cheer for Cano’s first spring at-bat.

UPDATE, 1:11 p.m.: Cano reaches on an error by first baseman Freddy Freeman. Hard hit grounder that Freeman couldn’t handle.

UPDATE, 1:12 p.m.: Teixeira rolls over one, grounds into a 5-4-3 double play.

UPDATE, 1:16 p.m.: Phelps gets a quick out on a grounder to third. Fairly routine ball. Joseph had to charge a little bit to his left.

UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: Didn’t know Zoilo Almonte could do that. Terrific throw from right field to throw out Reed Johnson trying to go first to third. Johnson had singled through the left side of the infield, then Freeman had singled through the right side, but Almonte’s strong throw cut down the runner and put Phelps one out away from getting out of the inning.

UPDATE, 1:21 p.m.: Routine fly ball to right and that’s the end of the inning. Phelps waits to high five Almonte in front of the Yankees dugout.

UPDATE, 1:26 p.m.: Rivera pops out to first. Diaz flies out to right. Does that make Diaz the leader for the open bench spot?

UPDATE, 1:28 p.m.: Cervelli grounds to short. Boooo!

UPDATE, 1:31 p.m.: Routine grounder to short. Nunez makes the play with no problem, totally making up for his earlier offensive shortcoming. He’s back on the team.

UPDATE, 1:32 p.m.: Two-out single for Todd Cunningham. That’s the third hit Phelps has allowed in 1.2 innings. He’s practically handing the rotation spot to Nova at this point.

UPDATE, 1:33 p.m.: Snap throw to first by Cervelli. Someone’s trying to show off.

UPDATE, 1:34 p.m.: Oh! And now Cervelli throws out Cunningham trying to steal second! Competition over!

UPDATE, 1:40 p.m.: Two-run homer by Almonte, who’s suddenly having a huge day. Mesa also scored, having reached on an error, gotten to second on a stolen base and taken third on a passed ball. It’s 2-0 Yankees in the top of the third.

UPDATE, 1:43 p.m.: Sharp double to the left field corner for Nunez.

UPDATE, 1:44 p.m.: Another Braves error has runners at the corner for Teixeira.

UPDATE, 1:49 p.m.: Not a great day for Braves reliever Jordan Walden who gave up four runs in third. His defense didn’t help him out — two errors — but he also threw a run-scoring wild pitch and Almonte’s two-run homer. It’s 4-0 Yankees.

UPDATE, 1:51 p.m.: Brett Marshall is in after two scoreless innings from Phelps, who allowed three hits.

UPDATE, 1:53 p.m.: Error by Joseph who bobbled a ball at third. That puts the leadoff man on base in the third.

UPDATE, 2:14 p.m.: One-out double by Evan Gattis has runners at second and third here in the fourth. Marshall nin a bit of trouble. Looks like Turley up in the Yankees pen.

UPDATE, 2:16 p.m.: RBI ground out to second has the Braves on the board. It’s 4-1 Yankees still in the fourth.

UPDATE, 2:17 p.m.: Cano makes the final two plays to get the Yankees out of the fourth. Those plays are going to cost the Yankees at least five bucks or so when they try to re-sign Cano this winter.

UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: Cano with a solo homer to make it 5-1. Teixeira followed with a ground out. Team Dominican looking much, much better than Team USA so far this afternoon.

UPDATE, 2:23 p.m.: Turley now pitching. Murton now playing first.

UPDATE, 2:29 p.m.: Nice catch in deep center by Mesa. The catch itself wasn’t particularly hard, it was more impressive that he was there in time to make the play fairly easily. A runner at second was almost to third base and had to sprint back to the bag to avoid being doubled up.

UPDATE, 2:44 p.m.: Base knock for Mesa to put runners at the corners for Almonte. He could lock up the game MVP award right here. Biggest at-bat of the spring, by a lot.

UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.: Almonte rolled it over to short. His home run was so long ago, at this point it’s hard to believe it will factor into the Yankees roster decision making process.

UPDATE, 2:49 p.m.: Second stringers are in now.

UPDATE, 2:51 p.m.: Mike O’Brien just gave up a two-run bomb to Evan Gattis. It’s now 5-3 Yankees. That big early lead is suddenly in trouble and this spring is getting out of control in a hurry.