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Phelps makes case for rotation with strong outing

Phelps makes case for rotation with strong outing play video for Phelps makes case for rotation with strong outing

TAMPA, Fla. -- Paul Maholm and four relievers held the Yankees in check as the Braves earned a 2-0 victory at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday night.

Maholm turned in his third start of the spring for Atlanta, facing the Yankees for the second time. Maholm blanked New York over 3 2/3 innings, permitting three hits and walking four. Maholm threw 81 pitches, 45 for strikes, and struck out two batters.

Yankees right-hander David Phelps continued a strong bid to stick in New York's rotation, hurling four innings and holding the Braves to a run on two hits.

Phelps, who entered camp competing with Ivan Nova for the final spot in the Yanks' starting five, walked one and struck out two as he completed his third outing of the spring. Phelps tossed 64 pitches, 38 for strikes.

"I'm satisfied with today," said Phelps, who is trying to fine-tune his curveball. "I've still got some stuff to work on, but I'm getting better and getting a little bit closer to where I need to be."

The Braves logged their lone run off Phelps in the first inning. Jordan Schafer led off the game with a booming double to right-center field, moved to third base on a flyout and scored on Justin Upton's groundout.

The injury-riddled Yankees received a scare in the second inning as Phelps reached with his bare hand for a Chris Johnson chopper. Phelps snagged the ball and threw to first base, but catcher Chris Stewart had a stern greeting for Phelps after the highlight-reel play.

"Stewie came out and told me I was an idiot," Phelps said. "[Pitching coach] Larry [Rothschild] came over in the dugout and said, 'Try not to barehand the ball.'"

The Braves added a run in the seventh inning off reliever Mark Montgomery. Tyler Pastornicky opened the inning with an infield single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher J.R. Murphy, then scored when Montgomery balked.

Atlanta's Dan Uggla left the game after being hit near the back of the head by a Branden Pinder pitch in the sixth inning. Uggla received a round of applause as he walked off the field and was replaced by pinch-runner Blake DeWitt.

Up next for the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda is starting for the Yankees opposite Jose Veras and the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic squad in a 1:05 p.m. ET exhibition Wednesday. Robinson Cano is expected to be in the lineup for the Dominican.

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.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }