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Phelps' quest for fifth spot continues in loss to Twins

Righty allows two runs in four innings; Nunez OK after hobbling off in fifth inning

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TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees got a scare Friday when shortstop Eduardo Nunez hobbled off the field and left the game in the fifth inning after being kicked just above the left knee by the Twins' Chris Colabello while competing a force play at second base.

But Nunez said after the Yankees' 7-3 loss at George M. Steinbrenner Field that he would have left the game after another inning anyway and was not injured on the play.

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"The doctor checked me out and he said it's fine," Nunez said. "I didn't expect he was going to come that close or that hard. It was an easy out."

David Phelps continued his quest for the fifth spot in the Yankees' rotation, allowing two runs on five hits, including a solo home run by the Twins' Brian Dozier, over the first four innings.

"I made some good pitches, I just left a couple up," Phelps said.

The Twins grabbed a 1-0 lead against Phelps in the first inning when Aaron Hicks began the game with a double to left and eventually crossed the plate on Colabello's single to right.

But the Yankees countered with three runs off Kyle Gibson in the bottom of the first. Back-to-back doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Roberts tied the score and a base hit by Mark Teixeira and Nunez's groundout gave the Yankees a 3-1 advantage.

Dozier's first home run of the spring pulled the Twins to within one in the third. Colabello tied it with a single to left off Yankees reliever David Herndon with two gone in the fifth.

The Twins loaded the bases with no one out against reliever Manny Banuelos in the sixth and scored four times. Eric Farris hit a tiebreaking two-run double, Jason Kubel drove in a run on a groundout and Oswaldo Arcia added an infield RBI single.

In his third spring appearance for the Twins, Gibson worked four innings, allowing three runs on three hits.

Up next: Vidal Nuno (0-0, 4.50 ERA), who is in contention for the fifth starting spot, will make his second official start of the spring Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET (MLB.TV, Gameday Audio) when the Yankees face the Orioles and Chris Tillman (2-0, 7.04).

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to

New York Yankees, Manny Banuelos, Jacoby Ellsbury, Eduardo Nunez, David Phelps, Brian Roberts, Mark Teixeira