A-Rod carries Yanks to victory in series opener vs. Rays

A-Rod carries Yanks to victory in series opener vs. Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Rodriguez homered twice and drove in the go-ahead run with a late single, collecting four RBIs and leading the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Rays on Friday evening at Tropicana Field.

Rodriguez connected for his 657th and 658th career homers, slugging a second-inning solo shot off starter Nathan Karns and a two-run, game-tying shot off Ernesto Frieri in the sixth. Rodriguez then knocked in pinch-runner Brett Gardner with the deciding run in the eighth, lining a full-count single to center field off Kevin Jepsen.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Michael Kolligian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A-Rod collects first multi-HR game since 2012

A-Rod collects first multi-HR game since 2012

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Rodriguez insists that he isn't thinking about how many times he has circled the bases in his big league career, though his teammates seem well aware that the number now stands at 658. The slugger says that his focus is on continuing to hit the ball hard and help the Yankees win games.

Rodriguez continues to swing the hottest bat in the Yankees' lineup, celebrating the 61st multi-homer game of his career on Friday and powering New York's 5-4 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, collecting three hits and driving in four runs.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miller finishes off solid effort by Yanks' bullpen vs. Rays

Miller finishes off solid effort by Yanks' bullpen vs. Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- The bullpen phone rang last for Andrew Miller once again, and though the Yankees have not officially named Miller as their closer, he certainly appears to be comfortable handling the duties of the ninth inning.

Miller recorded the final four outs of the Yankees' 5-4 victory over the Rays on Friday at Tropicana Field, securing his third save of the season in as many opportunities. He was preceded by Dellin Betances, who logged three outs around a hit in his sharpest outing of the young season.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks considering using sixth starter on occasion

Yanks considering using sixth starter on occasion

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees began a stretch Friday that will see them play 30 games in the next 31 days, and manager Joe Girardi said that the club is seriously considering inserting a sixth starter at some point to alleviate the strain on its rotation.

Girardi named Bryan Mitchell, Esmil Rogers and Chase Whitley among the most likely candidates to be given a spot start. Rogers is currently serving as the Yankees' long reliever, while Mitchell and Whitley are with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tanaka set to match up with Rays righty Odorizzi

Tanaka set to match up with Rays righty Odorizzi

The Rays and Yankees will resume their weekend series Saturday night at Tropicana Field, with Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi opposing New York's Masahiro Tanaka.

Odorizzi (2-0) has been brilliant for the Rays in his first two starts, allowing one run and four hits in 14 2/3 innings of work against the Orioles and Blue Jays. Tanaka (1-1) picked up his first win of the season last Sunday for the Yankees, allowing three earned runs in five innings in a 14-4 Yankees victory over the Red Sox.

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Michael Kolligian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gardner feels good after taking swings in batting cage

Gardner feels good after taking swings in batting cage

ST. PETERSBURG -- Brett Gardner said that his bruised right wrist is improving, and he hopes that a full batting-practice session Friday will permit him to return to the Yankees' lineup.

Gardner has not played since Monday in Baltimore, when he was hit by a pitch from the Orioles' Wei-Yin Chen. X-rays taken in Baltimore and an MRI performed on Thursday showed only a bone bruise, and Gardner said that he is close to getting back on the field.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With big shoes to fill, Didi looking to find his footing

First week of season brought some bumps for new Yankees shortstop

With big shoes to fill, Didi looking to find his footing

TAMPA, Fla. -- The chants, playful in nature, started raining down upon Didi Gregorius during his first homestand at Yankee Stadium. Up by 10 runs late against the Red Sox, the young shortstop flubbed what could have been a routine double-play ball.

"De-rek Je-ter," the echoes came from the three decks, and Gregorius could only laugh at the reminder of the challenges ahead.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With MRI's good news, Gardner eyes return

Results confirm bone bruise on right wrist; outfielder expected to play Friday

With MRI's good news, Gardner eyes return

TAMPA, Fla. -- Brett Gardner had an MRI on Thursday that confirmed a bone bruise on his right wrist, as previously diagnosed by an X-ray taken earlier this week.

Gardner was hit on the right wrist by the Orioles' Wei-Yin Chen in Monday's 6-5 Yankees victory. X-rays were negative on Gardner, who is expected to return to the lineup on Friday against the Rays.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Story behind Betances' pitch selection?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers questions from Yankees fans

Inbox: Story behind Betances' pitch selection?

I've noticed there have been a good amount of breaking balls thrown by Dellin Betances. Is this an attempt to give hitters something else to worry about? To save his arm? As someone who was so effective last season with fastballs in the upper 90s, I was wondering why you think he has moved off the speed game.
-- Matt B., Dudley, Mass.

You made me curious to check the numbers, and there's not as dramatic a shift you might think. According to Brooks Baseball, Betances used his four-seam fastball 710 times (52.28 percent) and his curveball 644 times (47.42 percent) times in 2014. This year, you're correct in that Betances has used his curve (59 times) more than his four-seamer (57 times), but it's such a small sample size that it doesn't raise a red flag.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miss the players, not the game: Jeter content in retirement

Former Yankees shortstop happy with decision, in touch with some teammates

Miss the players, not the game: Jeter content in retirement

Former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is staying busy with his The Players' Tribune venture and other charity work, but he said Wednesday night on SiriusXM radio that he doesn't miss the game "at all."

Speaking to hosts Ben Lyons and Ryan Duffy, Jeter reiterated that it was the "right time" for him to retire and said he's content with what he's doing now.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sabathia happy with how MLB honors Robinson's legacy

Sabathia happy with how MLB honors Robinson's legacy

BALTIMORE -- CC Sabathia grew up in a household where the story of Jackie Robinson was often re-told, and as the Yankees left-hander slips on No. 42 with the rest of the league on Wednesday, he believes that Major League Baseball has done a good job of keeping the barrier-breaking great's legacy alive.

"I think it's great," Sabathia said. "It's exciting that we get a chance to wear it. I think it's a big-time honor to be able to wear it. I think it's great that we honor him that way and we are able to put something together where it's meaningful and people kind of get it every year. It's cool."

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks lose lead in series finale vs. O's

Yanks lose lead in series finale vs. O's

BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis drove in three runs, including a key two-run double in a five-run sixth inning, as the Orioles rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Yankees in the series finale Wednesday night.

The Orioles (5-4) won two of three from the Yankees (3-6) in this series. Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop both hit solo homers as the Orioles rallied from an early 3-1 deficit. Brad Brach (1-0) earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief, and Zach Britton got his third save.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rare bullpen blip spoils Eovaldi's bid for first win

Right-hander fans nine over five before O's rally against relievers

Rare bullpen blip spoils Eovaldi's bid for first win

BALTIMORE -- The Yankees were past the halfway point on Wednesday, Nathan Eovaldi had nine strikeouts in the books, and manager Joe Girardi was looking ahead to having his bullpen -- excellent thus far in 2015 -- wrap up the final four innings.

It did not work out that way, as David Carpenter and Justin Wilson stumbled in the sixth inning. The Orioles batted around for five runs and five hits, powering a 7-5 victory in the rubber game of the three-game set at Camden Yards.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks' offense still searching for boost as A-Rod swings big

Rodriguez hits second home run of season in Wednesday's loss to O's

Yanks' offense still searching for boost as A-Rod swings big

BALTIMORE -- Alex Rodriguez said that his fourth-inning home run on Wednesday, No. 656 on his career ledger, felt "amazing off the bat" and was the best ball he has hit all year. Through nine games, he has proven that he can still swing at this level, though he is still waiting for his Yankees to get on a roll.

The Yankees have lost each of their first three series to American League East rivals, dropping sets in succession to the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Orioles. Rodriguez said after Wednesday's 7-5 loss at Camden Yards that the Yankees need to tighten up as a unit.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minor Leaguer Rodriguez suspended for violating drug program

Minor Leaguer Rodriguez suspended for violating drug program

BALTIMORE -- Yankees Minor League right-hander Wilking Rodriguez has received an 80-game suspension without pay after violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment program, it was announced on Wednesday.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said that Rodriguez tested positive for Furosemide, a performance-enhancing substance. The 25-year-old was in big league camp with the Yankees this spring and had been assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yankees recall RHP Pinder from Triple-A

Right-hander De La Cruz sent to Double-A; Davies clears waives, sent to Minors

Yankees recall RHP Pinder from Triple-A

BALTIMORE -- The revolving spot in the back of the Yankees' bullpen has landed on right-hander Branden Pinder, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to Wednesday's game against the Orioles.

Pinder, 26, had appeared in two games for the RailRiders, pitching three scoreless innings. He was 3-0 with a 2.06 ERA in 29 games (four starts) at three levels in the Yankees' farm system last season and pitched with the big club this past spring.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rave reviews for CC, despite so-so results in loss to Orioles

Sabathia strikes out seven, drops to 0-2, but Yankees encouraged by healthy-looking lefty

Rave reviews for CC, despite so-so results in loss to Orioles

BALTIMORE -- The Yankees continue to buzz about the encouraging signs that they have seen in CC Sabathia's return to the mound, but through two starts, the final results have not matched the observations.

Sabathia was handed his second loss of the young season on Tuesday, permitting four runs and seven hits in a 4-3 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards. He struck out seven and became the first Yankee to complete seven innings this season, an effort that generated positive reviews in the clubhouse.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks can't finish rally as O's even series

Yanks can't finish rally as O's even series

BALTIMORE -- The O's got a pair of RBIs -- including another homer -- from a red-hot Adam Jones and used a stellar seven-inning start from Miguel Gonzalez to top the Yankees, 4-3, in Tuesday's series-evening win.

Gonzalez (1-1) set a new career high with 10 strikeouts and held New York to just one run. The righty has pitched to a 1.42 ERA in his first two starts this season.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yankees to continue to play matchups in save situations

Girardi says no decision made to stick with either Miller, Betances in ninth

Yankees to continue to play matchups in save situations

BALTIMORE -- Andrew Miller has been deployed twice to handle the ninth inning in save opportunities this season, but the Yankees say that they are still operating without a set closer, and that the phone could still ring for Dellin Betances in those situations.

Miller locked down the final five outs of the Yankees' 6-5 win over the Orioles on Monday, entering in the eighth after Betances permitted the first two batters of the inning to reach base, and recorded his third career save.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB head of youth sports Reagins discusses game's future

MLB head of youth sports Reagins discusses game's future

LOS ANGELES -- Tony Reagins has spent decades in the game of baseball, and he's worked in everything from marketing to baseball operations. Reagins, formerly the general manager of the Angels, has taken on a new assignment with Major League Baseball as the senior vice president of youth programs, and he took some time Tuesday to discuss his plans for the future.

Reagins, under new Commissioner Rob Manfred, will be in charge of consolidating the league's relationships with youth, high school and college baseball organizations around the country. Reagins attended the Civil Rights Game instructional clinic Tuesday at Rancho Cienega Recreation Center, and he spoke a bit about Jackie Robinson, the Urban Youth Academies and the future of the game.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torre talks to students about abuse, accepts grant

Funds to benefit Safe at Home Foundation's Margaret's Place initiative

Torre talks to students about abuse, accepts grant

UNION CITY, N.J. -- Joe Torre walked into the Emerson Middle School gymnasium in Union City, N.J., and was showered with a hero's welcome by students. It was not just because of his stature as a Hall of Fame manager. It was also because he had made possible the three-room "Margaret's Place" safe haven inside their school, where kids who experience domestic violence can share feelings and maybe find hope.

Torre took a break from his role as Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations to appear at a moving school-wide assembly on Tuesday afternoon and receive a check for a $65,000 grant from HopeLine from Verizon and the Verizon Foundation to support his Safe At Home Foundation and its Margaret's Place initiative. He addressed hundreds of students about his experiences with domestic violence and held a long question-and-answer session.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After rocky 2014, Drew swinging hot bat early

Infielder swats grand slam off bench, eager to leave last year behind him

After rocky 2014, Drew swinging hot bat early

BALTIMORE -- At this time last year, Stephen Drew was stuck in free-agent purgatory, holding out for an agreeable contract and going through the paces of his own spring in Miami. One glance at his 2014 stat line is enough to suggest that it won't become a recommended training program anytime soon.

Arguably no one enjoyed the opportunity to go through a normal exhibition schedule more than Drew, who used the time to take on the challenge of learning second base while logging regular at-bats. As he circled the bases with a pinch-hit grand slam on Monday night, it seemed that the extra work has been paying off.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Drew's pinch slam caps homer-heavy attack

Drew's pinch slam caps homer-heavy attack

BALTIMORE -- Stephen Drew was summoned from the bench and delivered a pinch-hit grand slam, one of three Yankees homers, as his club came from behind to post a 6-5 victory over the Orioles on Monday night at Camden Yards.

Drew batted in place of Brett Gardner and took Tommy Hunter deep in the seventh inning, putting the Yankees on top for the first time since the second inning. Chris Young and Mark Teixeira each hit solo homers off Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard's imprint on Yanks and baseball lives on

Trailblazing catcher contributed much on field but more with his courage

Howard's imprint on Yanks and baseball lives on

BALTIMORE -- Sixty years have passed since Elston Howard dressed in a road-gray Yankees uniform and dug his spikes into the batter's box at Fenway Park, becoming the first African-American player to appear in a game for the franchise.

Howard made his Major League debut on April 14, 1955, and the talented prospect's presence was felt before long, as he laced an eighth-inning single to center field that knocked home Mickey Mantle from second base.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A-Rod welcomes support

A-Rod welcomes support

BALTIMORE -- As Alex Rodriguez sits five home runs away from tying Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list, the Yankees slugger said on Monday that he is pleased to count Barry Bonds among the people cheering for him to move up the chain.

"Anyone that supports me at this point, it's well appreciated," Rodriguez said after the Yankees' 6-5 victory over the Orioles. "It's not taken for granted, that's for sure. But my focus continues to stay between the lines."

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

De La Cruz called up from Double-A for bullpen depth

Davies designated for assignment in corresponding move

De La Cruz called up from Double-A for bullpen depth

BALTIMORE -- Another day, another long reliever. The Yankees' rotating final bullpen spot landed on right-hander Joel De La Cruz on Monday, marking the third straight day that the club has summoned a pitcher from the Minors to soak up innings.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Kyle Davies was designated for assignment. Davies pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Sunday's 14-4 win over the Red Sox, marking his first big league appearance since 2011.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.