FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Opening day at Yankee Stadium figures to be a lot different than the first meeting of the season between New York and the Boston Red Sox.
With Brett Gardner the only regular in the Yankees’ starting lineup, New York beat Boston 5-2 Sunday in the first of their two spring training matchups.
Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster threw 25 of 28 pitches for strikes, allowing his only hit in three scoreless innings when Gardner reached on a single to shortstop starting the game. The rivalry is a new experience for Dempster, who signed a $26.5 million, two-year contract.
“It’s super-intriguing,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed it from afar, being a baseball fan. So I’m sure we’ll have lots of good games against each other. I know that that rivalry is different than pretty much any rivalry in baseball and one of the best rivalries in all of sports. So it probably makes for a little more excitement.”
Boston’s Mike Napoli, in just his second spring training game after being diagnosed with avascular necrosis during the offseason, homered off Adam Warren leading off the second.
New York took a 3-1 lead in the sixth off new Boston closer Joel Hanrahan, who allowed Eduardo Nunez’s run-scoring single and Jayson Nix’s RBI grounder. Another run scored on a fielding error by third baseman Drew Sutton.
“I thought he threw the ball very well,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Put the ball on the ground. A couple of plays extended the inning for him but otherwise that would have been a clean inning of work for him.”
Farrell also was impressed by Dempster.
“His command was outstanding,” he said. “Very good location throughout. He threw three pitches for strikes once again, and extremely efficient.”
Winner Jose Ramirez allowed three hits in three scoreless innings. Warren gave up one run and three hits in three innings.
“He did a really good job,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought his changeup was good, I thought his breaking ball was good, I thought he threw the ball great.”
With Curtis Granderson likely out until May while a broken left forearm heals, Girardi had Gardner in left and Melky Mesa in center. Girardi said the injury might cause him to keep Granderson in center when he returns rather than shift him to left and move the speedy Gardner to the middle.
“It’s just something that I’ve thought about,” Girardi said. “I don’t know how many games he would have in his rehab coming back, and that’s a concern for me. So I want him to be comfortable wherever he’s at, because his bat’s real important to us.”
NOTES: Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia said he would not object to stricter penalties for PED violations, as baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has proposed. “You want everybody to compete on the same playing field. That’s all I’m asking and everybody else is asking,” he said. … The Yankees reassigned RHPs Corey Black, Matt Daley, Nick Goody, Shane Greene, Bryan Mitchell, Zach Nuding, Mike O’Brien and Ryan Pope to their minor league camp along with INF Kyle Roller. … Gardner has hit safely in each of his six games this spring. … Jarrod Saltalamacchia returned to the Red Sox lineup for the first time since Wednesday after being sidelined by lower back stiffness and went 1 for 2. … Boston DH David Ortiz, slowed as he continues to rehab the Achilles injury that cut short his 2012 season, felt soreness in the injured area and out off more baserunning drills until Monday. Farrell said the next three days will be important in helping create a schedule for Ortiz to be ready for the opener. … Red Sox LF Jonny Gomes, out since sustaining a cut to his left knee Wednesday, is expected back in the lineup for Tuesday’s exhibition against Puerto Rico. … Red Sox RHP Daniel Bard, who has not been in a game since Feb. 25 while working on his mechanics, is expected to throw 20 pitches in a simulated game Monday.
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