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Gardner’s 3-Run Triple Not Enough As Yankees Fall To O’s

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Brett Gardner had a three-run triple in the New York Yankees’ 10-7 loss to a Baltimore Orioles’ split squad on Wednesday.

Gardner tripled off T.J. McFarland in a four-run second that cut the Yankees’ deficit to 7-4. After missing most of last season because of a strained right elbow that required surgery, the speedy Gardner could become a key this season for the Yankees’ offense.

New York hit a team-record 245 homers last year but Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez left as free agents, and Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson will start the season on the disabled list. Just two Yankees on the projected opening-day roster, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano, topped 20 homers last season.

After his day was done, Gardner told WFAN’s Mike Francesa that he prefers to play center field, but would be OK going back to left field if asked when Granderson returns.

“It doesn’t make any difference to me. I’ll be more than comfortable going over to center and if they want to slot me back over, I’ll be comfortable (in left field),” Gardner said.

Steve Pearce, bidding for a backup role with the Orioles, had two hits and three RBIs. Pearce had an RBI double off Nik Turley during a five-run first, then hit a two-run single that made it 7-0 in the second.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)