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Spring training Games 6 and 7: vs. Blue Jays, at Astros

Tweet [1]

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Travis Hafner DH
Juan Rivera LF
Chris Stewart C
Dan Johnson 3B
Jose Pirela 2B
Gil Velazquez SS

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

Jose Reyes SS
Melky Cabrera LF
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
J.P. Arencibia DH
Brett Lawrie 3B
Rajai Davis CF
Henry Blanco C
Maicer Izturis 2B

RHP Brandon Morrow
Morrow vs. Yankees [3]

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., YES Network


Eduardo Nunez SS
Jayson Nix 2B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Matt Diaz LF
Melky Mesa CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Corban Joseph 3B
Luke Murton 1B
J.R. Murphy DH

RHP Brett Marshall
Marshall has never faced the Astros

ASTROS (3-2-1)
Jose Altuve 2B
Justin Maxwell CF
Carlos Pena 1B
Chris Carter LF
Jason Castro C
J.D. Martinez RF
Rick Ankiel DH
Marwin Gonzalez 3B
Jonathan Villar SS

RHP Lucas Harrell (11-11, 3.76 ERA in 2012)
Harrell vs. Yankees [4]

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., not on television

SPLIT SQUAD: This is the Yankees first split-squad of the spring. Tony Pena is managing the group in Kissimmee, where a team made primarily of minor leaguers and borderline big leaguers will face the Astros (should be a fair fight, right?). Here in Tampa, the Yankees are facing pretty much the regular Blue Jays lineup.

FAMILIAR NAMES: Two opposing outfielders are pretty familiar. For the Blue Jays it’s left fielder Melky Cabrera. For the Astros it’s center fielder Justin Maxwell. After being designated for assignment last spring, Maxwell settled in with the Astros and actually became one of their standouts. He might be the best player on that team.  

LATE SCRATCH: The Blue Jays scratched Colby Rasmus and are using Rajai Davis instead.

WHAT TO WATCH: Spring debut of Clay Rapada (in Tampa) and Dellin Betances (in Kissimmee). … All four of the catching candidates are playing today with Stewart and Cervelli starting, Bobby Wilson and Austin Romine coming off the bench. … With Phil Hughes being at least somewhat questionable for the start of the season, David Phelps seems to be the most obvious replacement if the Yankees need someone to make a spot start or two in early April. … Will Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki continue their hot starts to the spring?

UPDATE, 1:11 p.m.: Phelps walks Bautista, but gets the rest of the side, ending the inning with a strikeout of Encarnacion.

UPDATE, 1:16 p.m.: Blue Jays’ shift for Teixeira was extreme, and they’re staying that way for Hafner. Only different for Hafner is that Lowrie — playing shallow rigth field — moves back a little deeper. Either way, shortstop Reyes is playing almost perfectly up the middle. It’s almost impossible for the left side to be any more open.

UPDATE, 1:18 p.m.: Shift does it’s job. Hafner’s sharp ground ball got past Encarnacion, but it went straight to Lawrie for a 3-5-3 putout.

UPDATE, 1:23 p.m.: Pretty nice play by Pirela to turn a double play that gets Phelps out of the second inning.

UPDATE, 1;26 p.m.: Over in Kissimmee, Nunez has his first throwing error of the spring, and Cervelli has thrown out another base runner.

UPDATE, 1:28 p.m.: Stewart just got ejected for arguing a call at first base. Tossed from a spring game. Crazy. I did think he was safe, though.

UPDATE, 1:31 p.m.: Wilson now catching for the Yankees.

UPDATE, 1:34 p.m.: Pretty solid play at third base by Dan Johnson. Had to go to his left. It helped that Blanco was running.

UPDATE, 1:36 p.m.: Wilson throws out Izturis trying to steal second. At this point it’s pretty clear that Wilson is a distant dark horse in the catching competition, but he’s proven he can handle the big leagues.

UPDATE, 1:41 p.m.: That’s probably all for David Phelps today. Cabrera flied to center to strand Reyes and end the top of the third. It’s still scoreless. Phelps allowed two hits and walked a batter.

UPDATE, 1:42 p.m.: Now pitching for the Blue Jays, J.A. Happ, the same guy who broke Curtis Granderson’s forearm.

UPDATE, 1:55 p.m.: Didn’t see check the gun on all of Aardsma’s pitches, but YES had his final fastball at 92 mph. Aardsma pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning. That was his first appearance of the spring.

UPDATE, 2:23 p.m.: Gardner lifted for a pinch runner. Only in spring training. Heathcott running at first base.