Big hits for A-Rod, Cano in Yankees' loss

Big hits for A-Rod, Cano in Yankees' loss

at Kissimmee, Fla.
Saturday, March 20

Yankees at the plate: Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a two-run double to raise his spring batting average to .320, and second baseman Robinson Cano hit his first Grapefruit League home run in the second inning. Serving as the leadoff hitter, Brett Gardner had his third bunt single of the spring and later tripled. No. 2 hitter Nick Johnson, in typical Johnson fashion, drew two walks.

Astros at the plate: Hunter Pence went 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored to raise his spring batting average to .467. Carlos Lee went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and is now batting .308.

Yankees on the mound: Alfredo Aceves, who came in as a leading contender to win the fifth spot in the Yankees' rotation, had a rough outing, giving up five runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings while walking one and striking out two to bring his spring ERA from 0.90 to 3.77.

Astros on the mound: No. 3 starter Brett Myers pitched five innings, giving up four runs, eight hits, six strikeouts and three walks while throwing 53 of his 90 pitches for strikes. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 6.43 ERA in 14 innings this spring. Myers said he started throwing his curveball for the first time and was overusing his changeup in spots he wouldn't normally throw it just so he can get a feel for it.

2010 Spring Training - null
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Worth noting: Former Astros great Craig Biggio, who currently serves as special assistant to the general manager, has been in Spring Training camp at Osceola County Stadium, working with the Minor Leaguers from Thursday until Sunday. His longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell, who also serves as a special assistant, is scheduled to be in camp Monday-Friday. ... A-Rod turned in the play of the day, when he robbed Pence of extra bases with a diving stop down the third-base line, then threw him out at first base to end the first inning. ... With this being the Yankees' only trip to Osceola County Stadium, the ballpark drew a record 7,020 fans. The previous high for the Astros' Spring Training home was 6,904, set in a 2003 game against the Mets.

Grapefruit League records: Yankees, 8-10; Astros, 9-7

Up next: Two premier right-handers will take the bump in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, as the Yankees' A.J. Burnett will face off against Tigers ace Justin Verlander at 1:05 p.m. ET, in a game that can be seen on MLB.TV. Burnett has given up three runs on seven hits in four innings this spring (a 6.75 ERA), striking out two and walking five. Following Burnett will be Phil Hughes, who will continue his bid to be New York's fifth starter.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.