After a perfect first inning, Mitchell gave up consecutive singles to David Freese, Elias Diaz and Chris Bostick to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the second. Austin Meadows roped a two-run double to left field and Barrett Barnes gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead with an RBI double.
"My mistakes were in the zone today," Mitchell said. "Instead of throwing around the black, everything was a little too much in the zone."
Mitchell remains an option for one of the team's open rotation spots and manager Joe Girardi said the pitchers are at a point where he is starting to make closer evaluations.
"I'm not thinking about that really," Mitchell said. "I'm just going out there trying to make pitches. It's not really something on my mind."
Mitchell escaped the rest of the second inning without further damage, but Jordy Mercer led off the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run to left field, and after Freese's second base hit, Mitchell was removed.
Despite not making it through three innings, Mitchell was happy with his approach on the mound.
"I feel like the ball was coming out of my hand the best today out of all of the three starts," Mitchell said. "Especially in the first. I was attacking guys and throwing first-pitch strikes, that was our goal today. Felt great in the first inning, second inning the mistakes were in the zone."
Girardi said that Mitchell's stuff has looked good thus far in spring and that his curveball location would be the key to his success. Mitchell agreed with that assessment.
"I have to be locating the curveball over the course of a start," Mitchell said. "It helps my fastball as well."
Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Yankees on Monday.