Pineda makes strong case for fifth-starter's spot with 4 1/3 scoreless innings
TAMPA, Fla. -- Michael Pineda continued to state a convincing case for beginning the year in the rotation and Alfonso Soriano connected for his first home run of the spring as the Yankees pounded the Red Sox, 8-1, in front of a sellout crowd of 11,032 on Tuesday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Pineda blanked Boston over 4 1/3 strong innings of work, fighting for the No. 5 starter's job as he returns from right labrum surgery. Pineda scattered four hits and struck out five with no walks, giving him 14 strikeouts in nine scoreless Grapefruit League innings.
"I feel like the same Michael Pineda," he said. "I have the same mechanics; my mechanics are now a little better. Everything is good. My arm is feeling good and I'm throwing the ball good."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is not ready to make any decisions about the fifth starter spot, but he indicated that the club may have some serious discussions after Pineda's next start, scheduled for Sunday against the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field.
"I think he's getting stronger when he goes out," Girardi said of Pineda, who threw 45 of 60 pitches for strikes. "I think his command was better today; a lot better than [March 13 vs. Baltimore]. Another good step for him."
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront was pounded for seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 frames. Soriano started the barrage with a run-scoring single in the first inning, and New York added four more runs in the second, sending eight men to the plate.
Ichiro Suzuki skied a run-scoring single to center field, Derek Jeter legged out an RBI infield hit and Mark Teixeira stroked a two-run single to left off Doubront, who walked three and struck out two in a 79-pitch outing.
Doubront started the fourth inning and exited with two runners aboard. Soriano greeted Brandon Workman with a long three-run homer that dented the scoreboard in left field, Soriano's first home run of the spring.
Jonathan Herrera had an RBI single off David Herndon in the seventh inning to account for Boston's only run.
The game was delayed for seven minutes in the third inning, as Red Sox left fielder Mike Carp noticed a swarm of bees hovering around the visiting bullpen. While the grounds crew took care of the issue, Teixeira emerged from the Yankees dugout offering two bottles of honey.
"I'm not a big fan of bees flying around my head," Carp said. "It's just one of those things I've never seen happen -- or, I've seen it happen, but it's never happened to me. I'm sure they'll get their laughs on ESPN tonight."
Up next:Brian McCann makes his first trip back to the Braves' spring complex on Wednesday, catching right-hander Ivan Nova in New York's 1:05 p.m. ET game at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Derek Jeter, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano also headline the travel roster for the Yankees, who will face right-hander David Hale in a contest that will air on Gameday Audio.